Djokovic returns to Italian Open final

Rome, Italy ( - Defending champion Novak Djokovic will try for yet another title at the Italian Open after dispatching David Ferrer in the semifinals on Saturday.

Djokovic advanced to his sixth career Rome final with a 6-4, 6-4 victory and will face the winner between Swiss stars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka on Sunday.

The top-ranked Serb is a three-time champion and two-time runner-up in Rome. He won the French Open tune-up in 2008 and 2011 in addition to last year and was also a finalist in 2009 and 2012 when he lost to Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has already won four titles this year. He claimed the year's first major at the Australian Open, then captured both Masters titles at Indian Wells and Miami before opening his clay-court season with a championship at Monte Carlo.

On Sunday, Djokovic will carry a 21-match winning streak into the final. He hasn't lost since dropping a straight-set match to Federer in the Dubai final back in February and owns a career record of 52-23 in title matches.

It had been a struggle for Djokovic this week with three straight three-set matches entering Saturday. However, he needed just 95 minutes to beat Ferrer, the 2010 Rome runner-up, for the ninth straight time.

Djokovic earned a break in just the third game of the match and saved a break point while serving for the set at 5-4 when Ferrer missed a forehand. He managed to hold and win the set, then broke for a 5-4 lead in the second and quickly finished the match in the next game.

Ferrer, who also lost to Djokovic in the Rome quarterfinals last year, fell to 5-15 lifetime against the Serb and hasn't beaten him since 2011 in the round robin of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Djokovic has plenty of history against either of his two potential opponents in Sunday's final.

He is 18-20 lifetime against Federer, including 1-1 this year. After Federer beat Djokovic in the Dubai final, Djokovic returned the favor at Indian Wells. Djokovic is 2-0 against Federer in Rome, winning semifinal matches in 2009 and 2012.

Djokovic has dominated Wawrinka with a 17-3 mark, including a five-set win in the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year. The two have also met twice in Rome with Djokovic rallying for a three-set win in the 2008 final and picking up a straight-set win in the 2011 round of 16.

The 2015 Rome titlist will claim $708,000.