Djokovic battles past Schwartzman to set up Italian Open final vs. Nadal
Paolo Bruno / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Novak Djokovic survived a semifinal test from Diego Schwartzman, defeating the 24th-ranked Argentinean 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 to set up a clash with Rafael Nadal in the Italian Open final.

The World No. 1 player converted four of five break point opportunities and saved two of four chances against his serve.

Djokovic and Nadal are currently tied with 33 career ATP Masters 1000 titles apiece and Sunday's winner will take sole possession of the all-time lead.

The Serbian leads their head-to-head series 28-25 and has won the past two meetings, including a straight-sets win in the Australian Open final last January.

"He keeps on showing to the world why he's one of the biggest legends of tennis history," Djokovic said of Nadal post-match, according to Jonathon Braden of ATPtour.com. "I have the greatest respect for him. He's my greatest rival of all time, for sure ... Every time we get to play each other, it's a thrill. It's the ultimate challenge."

Nadal is the defending champion in Rome and is seeking a ninth title, while Djokovic looks to claim his fifth Italian Open crown.

Schwartzman was playing in his first career Masters 1000 semifinal after upsetting No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori in the previous round.

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Djokovic battles past Schwartzman to set up Italian Open final vs. Nadal
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