Italian Open: Novak Djokovic wins 38th Masters 1000 title, Iga Swiatek claims fifth straight WTA Tour trophy
A sixth straight victory for Djokovic over his Greek opponent seemed inevitable as he advanced in the first set with a blistering hitting display, for which Tsitsipas had no answer.
World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his first title in more than six months after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 (5) to win the Italian Open on Sunday. Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek claimed her fifth consecutive WTA Tour title, defeating No. 7 Ons Jabeur, 6-2, 6-2 in the final to retain her Italian Open crown.
Not too bad 🤌🏼😍🏆 Nothing but grateful for this amazing week and everyone’s support. I have felt immense love being in Roma @InteBNLdItalia ❤️ Grazie a tutti per il supporto! Idemooo 🏼💪🏼🙌🏼👐🏼 pic.twitter.com/MP3kqXXR32
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 15, 2022
Djokovic did not lose a set en route to the final in Rome after claiming his 1000th tour-level victory by beating Casper Ruud in the semifinal to book a clash with Tsitsipas, a repeat of last year’s French Open final. which the Serb won.
A sixth straight win for Djokovic over his Greek opponent seemed inevitable as he advanced in the first set with a blistering hitting display, for which Tsitsipas had no answer.
Tsitsipas’ name resounded on Campo Centrale in the fourth game of the second set, however, an unforced error by Djokovic gave the Greek player two breakpoints, the first of which he converted to take a 3-1 lead in the set.
After Tsitsipas held to make it 4-1, Djokovic moved up a gear, winning five of the next seven games to take it to a tiebreaker before sealing his sixth Italian Open title, and first since winning the Paris Masters in November.
It was the perfect week for the 34-year-old, who became the fifth man in the Open Era to reach the 1,000-win milestone after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, and Rafa Nadal, ahead of the start of the French Open next Sunday.
“I surprised myself, I can say that,” Djokovic said. “I had a clear game plan and I knew what to expect, so I knew what I had to do, but I played a perfect first set.
“After that, it was a little bit tighter. At this level, one or two points can turn a match, and then he was back in the game with 4-1 up. The match easily could have gone to a third set, but I managed to find the right shots at the right time to get back in the match.
“I’ve been building my form over the last few weeks and I knew my best clay-court form usually comes around Rome time, so it couldn’t be better to go to Roland Garros with a title.”
Iga Swiatek’s last 16 sets @WTA finals:
2020 RG: 64 61
2021 Adelaide: 62 62
2021 Rome: 60 60
2022 Doha:62 60
2022 IW: 64 61
2022 Miami: 64 60
2022 Stuttgart: 62 62
2022 Rome: 62 62
She has now won 5 of the last 9 WTA 1000s. pic.twitter.com/8xtL4KZRjI
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 15, 2022
With this, the Polish star extended her winning streak to 28 consecutive matches. Swiatek is only the second player to win four or more WTA 1000 titles in a single season. Serena Williams won five in 2013.
The 20-year-old has won every WTA 1000 she has contested this season, winning Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, and now Rome. She currently holds five of the last nine WTA 1000 titles.
Swiatek won the first WTA 1000 title of her career last year in Rome. She is the ninth player to win back-to-back titles in Rome and the third-youngest player to capture two titles in Rome, older only than Chris Evert and Gabriela Sabatini.
During Sunday’s final, Swiatek was looking to move up a level against Jabeur, who had won her last two matches. It didn’t take long for the world No. 1 to put her stamp on the match. Swiatek broke Jabeur early to build a quick 3-0 lead and never relinquished control of the match.
Jabeur found herself with two small openings to break Swiatek’s serve, but the Pole closed the door each time. Serving at 4-2 in the first set, a pair of errors put Swiatek in a 0-30 deficit, which she quickly relieved to hold. Then, in her opening service game of the second set, Swiatek killed off the first breakpoint she faced in the match.
Jabeur would snap Swiatek’s six-game winning streak with her first break of serve in the match at 4-1 in the second set. Buoyed by the break, Jabeur got her best chance to turn the match around at 4-2. In the best game of the match, Swiatek survived a 0-40 deficit to save four break points and hold off Jabeur.
The world No. 1 outlasted Jabeur in a series of thrilling cat-and-mouse plays before closing out the game with a big first serve.
Having swept titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, and Rome, Swiatek is now the fourth player in the 2000s to win five or more consecutive tournaments. She joins a lauded list that includes Venus Williams in 2000, Justine Henin in 2007-2008, and Serena Williams in 2013.