ROME: Novak Djokovic picked up the place he left off earlier than his US Open default two weeks in the past, successful a fifth Italian Open title on Monday, days earlier than the beginning of Roland Garros.
The world primary lifted a document 36th Masters crown, yet one more than nice rival Rafael Nadal, after beating Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-Three within the ultimate on the Foro Italico in Rome.
“Turning to Paris, I couldn’t ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and I’m super pleased,” mentioned 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.”
Djokovic prolonged his document to 31 wins from 32 matches this 12 months, along with his solely loss the US Open disqualification for accidently hitting a line decide with a ball.
Schwartzman had shocked nine-time event winner Rafael Nadal within the quarter-finals.
However he ran out of steam in a ultimate performed beneath mild drizzle, having additionally spent greater than three hours on the courtroom in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Regardless of a terrific begin, with two breaks to steer 3-0, Schwartzman couldn’t maintain the momentum going in opposition to 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, however the first since 2015, having completed runner-up 3 times since together with final 12 months to Nadal. “It’s been a good week, even if I haven’t played my best tennis. I’m satisfied,” mentioned Djokovic.
Prime ladies’s seed Simona Halep lifted her first trophy in Rome, a confidence booster forward of the French Open, after defending champion Karolina Pliskova retired injured whereas trailing 6-0, 2-1 within the ultimate.
World quantity two Halep was competing in her third Rome WTA ultimate, having completed runner-up in 2017 and 2018.
Halep mentioned she was approaching Roland Garros “without pressure, smiling,” regardless of the 2018 winner now being among the many favourites.
“It’s just another tournament. I’m not going to put pressure on myself,” the Wimbledon champion insisted. “I performed rather well this 12 months. I’ve three titles already. I performed a lot on clay. I really feel assured.
“I just try to be happy, to take the positives from this tournament, and to go there smiling.”
Pliskova’s title defence was hampered attributable to ache in her left thigh.
“It was growing worse and worse with every day,” she mentioned. “This morning I even wondered if I was going to play, but you still want to try,” mentioned the Czech, who “hopes” to recuperate in time for Roland Garros.
Swept apart 6-Zero within the first set, she appeared to recuperate within the second and had simply received her first sport when she headed for Halep to name time on her match.
For Halep it was a 3rd event win this 12 months after Dubai in February and Prague final month, to increase her successful streak to 14 consecutive matches.
The 28-year-old Romanian didn’t compete within the US Open due to coronavirus fears, however mentioned she had felt secure within the Italian capital.
“I want to thank everyone because the tournament went well, and in these conditions it’s not easy,” she mentioned.
“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.”
Printed in Daybreak, September 23rd, 2020