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Djokovic wins Italian Open to claim first title in over six months

ROME – 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.

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.

Meanwhile, world number one Iga Swiatek retained her Italian Open title after overwhelming Ons Jabeur 6-2 6-2 in Rome on Sunday, clinching her fifth consecutive WTA crown and winning her 28th match in a row. Having swept the titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, Swiatek has now won every WTA 1000 tournament she has contested this season and will be the favourite to add to her 2020 French Open success when the Grand Slam tournament begins next week.

Swiatek outmanoeuvred Jabeur to snap the Tunisian’s 11-match winning streak, which began in her title run in Madrid, to level their head-to-head record at 2-2 after having lost both 2021 meetings at Wimbledon and Cincinnati. “Today I’m going to celebrate with a lot of tiramisu, no regrets,” said Poland’s Swiatek, who collapsed on the red clay at Foro Italico and broke down in tears after securing the title.

In the pair’s first meeting on clay, Swiatek was barely troubled by world number seven Jabeur in the opening stages of the match and comfortably held her serve to race into a commanding 3-0 lead. Jabeur tested her 20-year-old opponent at 4-2 but Swiatek dug herself out of a 0-30 hole to hold from deuce and take the game before wrapping up the set on her second set point when the Tunisian whipped a forehand into the net.

The second set started off in similar fashion, with Jabeur proving no match for Swiatek’s power and mobility from the baseline as the Pole cruised 4-0 ahead. Jabeur won the next two games and looked set for another but Swiatek held from 0-40 down, saving four break points and closed out the game on her first serve before a backhand into the net from the Tunisian ended her resistance.

| Iga Swiatek retains Italian Open title with 28th straight victory

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