Roger Federer will play Italian Open in warm-up for Roland Garros

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Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) Saturday to reach the Madrid Open final for the third time. The Madrid Open is his first clay tournament as he prepares to return to the French Open after a three-year absence. "I'm very, very pleased with this win".

"I think I deserved the match at the end".

"I feel very good about my game", he said. It's been a good week.

A lucky volley, followed by a smash victor, kept Federer in the match. "I'll try to keep up my good momentum which I have now and give my best again".

Federer will be seeded third at the Italian Open, which begins Wednesday.

Roger Federer has served notice of his intentions for the French Open by opting to play in next week's Italian Open.

With the altitude of the Spanish capital speeding up the courts to suit his game, Federer said he's glad he picked the venue for his return after skipping clay in 2017 and 2018 to concentrate on grass and hard courts.

The quarter-finals could see a clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas ahead of meeting either Rafael Nadal or Thiem in the semis then playing world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

Nadal lost only seven points on his service games, conceding no break opportunities against the 34th-ranked Wawrinka.

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Finally, Rafa Nadal is another player with a big head-to-head lead, taking a 17-3 lead into his match with Stan Wawrinka.

Thiem broke Federer for the first time in the third game of the third set, converting on his ninth break opportunity of the match.

"It means a lot to have this feeling in this crucial moment of the clay season".

Madrid has probably made the mood more, Federer in Rome - back on the Sand.

Two-time women's champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-5 to reach her fourth semi-final at La Caja Magica. "I prefer titles than numbers and rankings".

That win was his seventh in a row since last week, where he won his second title of the season in Estoril, Portugal.

The 37-year-old Federer got off to a great start against Thiem at the Magic Box centre court, breaking the Austrian's serve early and cruising to a first-set win. In addition, Monfils had two match points with Federer serving at 5-6 down in the final set, but was unable to take them as Federer nicked the set on a tiebreak.

Thiem broke to go 2-1 in the third. "I thought I had some good matches here", the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. I'm very, very happy to win.

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