Djokovic and Wawrinka to play Rome Masters final

ROME: Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka will emerge from all the fallen and broken bodies around them to contest the Rome Masters Series final on Sunday.

In a season when the ATP has repeatedly come under fire for its scheduling of the clay court season, in particular, the Serbian third seed and Swiss number two have found themselves left as the only men standing in the Italian capital.

The last three matches have all been decided by retirements leaving the victors well rested and the spectators more than just frustrated.

Wawrinka spent only about 20 minutes on court in his semi-final before American sixth seed Andy Roddick succumbed to a back problem with the score at 3-0 in the first set.

Djokovic played for a bit longer but he was 6-0, 1-0 up on Radek Stepanek, who the previous day had eliminated world number one Roger Federer, when the Czech decided he was too weak to continue.

That came only about 18 hours after Djokovic's quarter-final had been cut short, with him leading 6-1, 1-0, after Spaniard Nicolas Almagro decided his wrist was too painful to continue.

The final sees the third seed and Australian Open champion take on a player who will break into the world's top 10 for the first time next week.

Wawrinka will jump from 24 in the world to at least 10th after reaching his first ever Masters Series final, and that after knocking out three seeds, with eighth seed James Blake and 16th seed Andy Murray also among his victims before Roddick (6).

Djokovic will retake the lead in the Champions Race from Nadal at the end of the week ahead of the next week's Hamburg Masters, where Federer is the defending champion.