Djokovic wins record 36th Masters title in Rome

World No 1 Novak Djokovic beat Diego Schwartzman in the final of the Rome Masters to win his 36th ATP 1000 title

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Novak Djokovic wins his fifth Rome Masters event/ Photo courtesy - ATP Tour

On Monday, Novak Djokovic ended a five-year wait to win his fifth ATP 1000 Masters event in Rome, the Italian Open. The World No 1 claimed the title after beating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to win a record 36th Masters title.

Before the tennis tour resumed in August, Djokovic had won 34 Masters events, one less than then-leader Rafael Nadal. But he drew level with the Spaniard by winning the relocated Cincinnati Masters title, and now leads the pack after his win in Rome.

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This week will also mark the Serbian’s 287th week as World No 1, which takes him ahead of his idol Pete Sampras’ tally of 286 weeks atop the rankings. He now trail’s only Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as the highest ranked player.

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The final at the Foro Italico however, started with Schwartzman taking an early lead. The Argentine stunned the top seed with an early double break. Djokovic found his rhythm though and started to claw back, levelling the scores at 3-3.

He had his first set point opportunity at 5-4, but Schwartzman, a first-time Masters finalist, held onto his nerve to level the set. Djokovic however, did force his opponent into a series of errors at 6-5 before a barrage of heavy forehands drew another error to hand him the set.

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The second set started with both players trading breaks, before, while leading at 4-3, Djokovic earned a service break at love.

Eventually, he closed out the match with a delightful backhand drop-shot to set a new Masters record.

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So far this season, Djokovic has won four of the five tournament’s he’s entered in – including the Australian Open – and now has a 31-1 record this term.

Halep wins first Rome title

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep bagged her first Rome WTA Premier 5 title after her opponent in the final, defending champion Karolina Pliskova retired with the score at 6-0, 2-1 to the Romanian.

Pliskova came into the match with a heavily strapped left thigh and her movement was clearly hampered by an injury. She recieved medical timeouts for a back and leg issue, but decided she wouldn’t be able to continue early in the second set.

For Halep, the title builds her momentum as she heads to the French Open. This was her second title in as many competitions since the tour resumed in August – she had won the Prague Open before travelling to Italy.

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