Italian Open: Iga Swiatek, Novak Djokovic prove their worth
World No.1s Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic clinched the Italian Open men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in Rome on Sunday.
Swiatek retained her title after overwhelming Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2, 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.
Djokovic claimed his first title in over six months after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6(5). The Serb 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.
Swiatek snapped the Tunisian Jabeur’s 11-match winning streak, which began in her title run in Madrid, to level their head-to-head record at 2-2.
“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 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.
In the second set too 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.
It has been the perfect week for the 34-year-old Novak, 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 Rafael Nadal.
“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.”
(Written with inputs from Reuters)