Italian Open: Novak Djokovic defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the first title of 2022 in Rome

Italian Open
Source: Skysports

Italian Open: Novak Djokovic won the Italian Open on Sunday, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6 (7-5) for his first trophy in over six months.

Djokovic hadn’t won a tournament since lifting the Paris Masters title in November when he was deported due to his lack of vaccinations ahead of the Australian Open.

The Serb avoided dropping a set in Rome, having won his 1,000th tour-level match by defeating Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals to set up a meeting with Tsitsipas, a rematch of last year’s French Open final, which Djokovic won.

“I’ve been building my form the last few weeks,” Djokovic said. “It couldn’t be better timing coming into Roland Garros.

“Perfect scenario for me.

“This year it was a particular situation. With everything that happened in Australia, it took some time. I found my best shape here. I’m going to Paris with a lot of confidence.”

Djokovic appeared to be on his way to a sixth straight victory over Tsitsipas after storming through the opening set with a barrage of hitting that Tsitsipas couldn’t match.

In the fourth game of the second set, however, Tsitsipas’ name rang around Campo Centrale when 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 stepped it up a notch, winning five of the next seven games to force a tiebreak and win his sixth Italian Open championship and first since the Paris Masters in November.

The 34-year-old has had the perfect week, becoming only the fifth man in the Open Era to surpass 1,000 wins, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, and Rafa Nadal, ahead of the French Open on Sunday.

Djokovic made a special dedication at the trophy presentation: “My seven-year-old son Stefan was playing his first tennis match when we started this match at 4 p.m. today. I’m hoping he wins. This is intended for him.”

Last month, the 20-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the final of his native Serbia Open. Last week, he was defeated in the Madrid Open semi-finals by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic produced 24 winners to Tsitsipas’s eight and had only 14 unforced errors to Tsitsipas’ 20.

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