It will be a clash of the Titans in Rome as Rafael Nadal is set to face world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final in Rome in Sunday.

Nadal booked a place in the final after a convincing 6-4, 6-4 victory over American Reilly Opelka in the semi-final. The Spaniard started the match slow, going 2-1 down in the first set before having to save four break points. This appeared to have fired him up and he proceeded to break his opponent in the next game before taking the set.

The second set was more straightforward for Nadal, who again only needed one break to seal the victory. Meanwhile, Djokovic took the other spot in the final after defeating home bet Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2, in the other semi-final.

It was a gruelling Saturday for Djokovic, who had to play twice on the day after rain delayed his quarter-final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Serbian star came from a set down to overcome the Greek ace before proceeding to defeat Sonego on the same day.

Tsitsipas had the upper hand at 6-4 2-1 against Djokovic before the rain delay on Friday, but the world number one came back strong on Saturday to immediately break twice and force a third set. It was a tight third set as Djokovic had to break back twice. In the end, Tsitsipas failed to hold on for another chance at a title this season with Djokovic winning 4-6 7-5 7-5.

Djokovic did not have it easy against Sonego either, with the match going into the third set as well. There is no doubt that Nadal will be the better rested player when the final comes around.

"Rome is such an important tournament for me. To be in the final again is so important for me," said Nadal. "In terms of preparation for [the French Open at] Roland Garros, I consider the job done. Tomorrow is not at all preparation. It's a final, an important one, and I want to be competitive," he told the press after the semis.

Djokovic will be determined to win the title, if only to damage Nadal's morale going into the French Open.

Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal is a nine-time Italian Open winner. AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTE