Djokovic back on track with fifth Rome title | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Djokovic back on track with fifth Rome title

/ 12:59 PM September 22, 2020
Novak Djokovic Italian Open

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic poses with his trophy after winning the final match of the Men’s Italian Open against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman at Foro Italico on September 21, 2020 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Riccardo Antimiani / POOL / AFP)

Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off before his US Open default two weeks ago, winning a fifth Italian Open title on Monday, days before the start of Roland Garros.

The world number one lifted a record 36th Masters crown, one more than great rival Rafael Nadal, after beating Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 in the final at the Foro Italico in Rome.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Turning to Paris, I couldn’t ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and I’m super pleased,” said Djokovic.

“I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it in the decisive moments.”

FEATURED STORIES

Djokovic extended his record to 31 wins from 32 matches this year, with his only loss the US Open disqualification for accidently hitting a line judge with a ball.

Schwartzman had shocked nine-time tournament winner Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

But he ran out of steam in a final played under light drizzle, having also spent more than three hours on the court in Sunday’s semi-finals.

Despite a great start, with two breaks to lead 3-0, Schwartzman could not keep the momentum going against the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who notched up his fifth win over the Argentinian.

For Djokovic it was a fifth victory in 10 finals in Rome, but the first since 2015, having finished runner-up three times since including last year to Nadal.

“It’s been a good week, even if I haven’t played my best tennis. I’m satisfied,” said Djokovic.

Top women’s seed Simona Halep lifted her first trophy in Rome, a confidence booster ahead of the French Open, after defending champion Karolina Pliskova retired injured while trailing 6-0, 2-1 in the final.

ADVERTISEMENT

World number two Halep was competing in her third Rome WTA final, having finished runner-up in 2017 and 2018.

– ‘Without pressure’ –
Halep said she was approaching Roland Garros “without pressure, smiling,” despite the 2018 winner now being among the favourites.

“It’s just another tournament. I’m not going to put pressure on myself,” the Wimbledon champion insisted.

“I played really well this year. I have three titles already. I played so much on clay. I feel confident.

“I just try to be happy, to take the positives from this tournament, and to go there smiling.”

Pliskova’s title defence was hampered due to pain in her left thigh.

“It was growing worse and worse with every day,” she said.

“This morning I even wondered if I was going to play, but you still want to try,” said the Czech, who “hopes” to recover in time for Roland Garros.

Swept aside 6-0 in the first set, she seemed to recover in the second and had just won her first game when she headed for Halep to call time on her match.

For Halep it was a third tournament win this year after Dubai in February and Prague last month, to extend her winning streak to 14 consecutive matches.

The 28-year-old Romanian did not compete in the US Open because of coronavirus fears, but said she had felt safe in the Italian capital.

“I want to thank everyone because the tournament went well, and in these conditions it’s not easy,” she said.

“We felt really safe and really good on and off the courts, even though we stayed often in our hotel rooms. We accepted it, because we like to play tournaments.”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox


Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Diego Schwartzman, Italian Open, Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros, Rome
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.