Sat, 24 Oct 2020

Djokovic wins record-breaking title in Rome

Field Level Media
22 Sep 2020, 04:19 GMT+10

Novak Djokovic captured his record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 title on Monday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final in Rome.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Serbian had shared the record with World No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, but moved ahead of his rival with his fifth trophy in the Italian capital.

Djokovic, 33, rallied from a double break down in the opening set against Argentina's Schwartzman and improved his record to 31-1 this season. The lone setback came earlier this month when he was disqualified at the U.S. Open after an errant ball he hit in frustration struck a line judge in the throat during a fourth-round match.

"It was a great week. A very challenging week. 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 the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday (and in) practically every match," Djokovic said.

"That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I couldn't ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and (I am) super pleased with it."

Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win 14 of the past 16 titles in Rome.

The eighth-seeded Schwartzman, 28, was appearing in his first Masters 1000 final. He jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before Djokovic broke twice to level. Schwartzman saved a set point in the 10th game and two more in the 12th game before Djokovic finally put it away.

The second set was knotted at 3-3 when Djokovic made his move, winning 11 consecutive points to set up triple match point. He won it on his third opportunity with a backhand drop shot.

Djokovic will also achieve another milestone when the FedEx ATP Rankings are updated Monday night, as he will begin his 287th week in the No. 1 slot. That breaks a tie with Pete Sampras for the second-most weeks spent in the top spot, trailing only Roger Federer's 310.

Hamburg European Open

No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia won 27 of 30 first-service points in a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Tennys Sandgren in the opening round in Hamburg, Germany.

Rublev, last year's Hamburg runner-up, struck six aces and never faced a break point during the 69-minute win over the unseeded American.

In other first-round action, Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas won 6-4, 6-2 over Taylor Fritz, Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely won 7-5, 6-2 against France's Gilles Simon, and American qualifier Tommy Paul outlasted South Africa's Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.

--Field Level Media

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