Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time champion Novak Djokovic was a hard-fought quarterfinal winner Friday at the $4 million Italian Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 star snuck past fifth-seeded Spanish grinder David Ferrer 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 on the red clay at Foro Italico. Ferrer was the 2010 Rome runner-up and last year's French Open runner-up to his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic.
Djokovic, who will turn 27 next week, titled here in 2008 and 2011 and was the Rome runner-up in 2009 and 2012.
Also on Friday, the formidable Raonic rolled along by beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 and 12th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was leading 15th-seeded German Tommy Haas 6-2 after one set when the 36-year-old German retired with a right shoulder injury, which has plagued the one-time world No. 2 Haas throughout his career. The birthday boy Dimitrov turned 23 on Friday.
Haas was the Rome runner-up in 2002.