Novak Djokovic has pulled away from Rafael Nadal at the top of the Masters 1000 leaderboard as he beat Diego Schwartzman in the Italian Open final. The Serbian secured the 36th Masters title of his career in Rome which takes him one clear of Nadal’s tally.
Djokovic pulled level with his long-term rival when he won the Western & Southern Open title last month.
But he is now the standalone leader following a successful campaign in the Italian capital – which was his first return to action since being disqualified from the US Open.
Nadal was the favourite to dominate the clay season after skipping the American hard court swing to give himself more time on the red dirt.
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But the Spaniard suffered a shock quarter-final defeat to Schwartzman as the Argentine impressed throughout the tournament.
Djokovic proved a step too far for Schwartzman in the end as the world No 1 wrapped up a 7-5, 6-3 victory in Monday’s final.
Djokovic also reserved praise for Schwartzman and explained what it was like to play in front of spectators again after 1,000 socially-distanced fans were permitted entry.
“Diego, it was his first Masters final but he played well,” he added.
“It was heavy conditions, especially at the beginning with the rain, there was noise all around and it was a bit windy.
“It took us both a bit of time to really get used to conditions.
“He has played many long matches here and has had fantastic wins against Nadal and [Denis] Shapovalov last night.
“It was a great tournament and I wish him all the best in the rest of the season.”
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Published at Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:51:00 +0000