World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his first title in over six months after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6(5) to win the Italian Open on Sunday. While, Iga Swiatek clinched her fifth consecutive WTA Tour title, defeating No. 7 ranked Ons Jabeur, 6-2, 6-2 in the final to retain her Italian Open crown.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 15, 2022
Djokovic did not drop a set en route to the final in Rome, having picked up his 1,000th tour-level victory by beating Casper Ruud in the semi-final to book a clash with Tsitsipas – a repeat of last year`s French Open final, which the Serb won.
A sixth-successive win for Djokovic over his Greek opponent looked inevitable as he stormed through the first set with a blistering display of hitting, to which Tsitsipas had no answer.
Tsitsipas`s name rung around Campo Centrale in the fourth game of the second set, however, as an unforced error from Djokovic gave the Greek player two break points, the first of which he converted to take a 3-1 lead in the set.
After Tsitsipas held to make it 4-1, Djokovic then upped it a gear, winning five of the next seven games to take it to a tiebreak before sealing his sixth Italian Open title, and first since winning the Paris Masters in November.
It has been the perfect week for the 34-year-old, who became only the fifth man in the Open Era to reach the 1,000 wins 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,” Djokovic said. “I had a clear game plan and I knew what to expect, so I knew what I had to do, but I did play a perfect first set.
“After that it was a little tighter. At this level, one or two points can turn a match and he was then back in the game at 4-1 up. The match could easily have gone to a third set but I managed to find the right shots at the right time to come back into the match.
“I have been building my form for the past couple of weeks and I knew that my best shape on clay usually comes around Rome time, so it could not be better going into Roland Garros with a title.”
Iga Swiatek beats Ons Jabeur
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 just the second player ever 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 level up her head-to-head against Jabeur, who had won their last two meetings. It did not take long for 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 the Swiatek serve, but the Pole slammed the door each time. Serving at 4-2 in the first set, a pair of errors put Swiatek into a 0-30 deficit, which she quickly alleviated to hold. Then, in her opening service game of the second set, Swiatek wiped out the first breakpoint she faced in the match.
Jabeur would snap Swiatek’s six-game run with her first break of serve in the match at 4-1 in the second set. Buoyed by the break, Jabeur earned her best chance to flip the match in the 4-2 game. In the best game of the match, Swiatek survived a 0-40 deficit to save four breakpoints and keep Jabeur at bay.
The World No.1 outsmarted Jabeur in a series of rousing cat-and-mouse rallies before closing out the game with a big first serve.
Having swept the 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 vaunted list that includes Venus Williams in 2000, Justine Henin in 2007-2008 and Serena Williams in 2013.