ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Novak Djokovic tops Tsitsipas to catch Rafael Nadal

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ThrowbackTimes Madrid: Novak Djokovic tops Tsitsipas to catch Rafael Nadal

After three mediocre results at the Masters 1000 series at the beginning of the last season, Novak Djokovic found his A-game in Madrid, beating Taylor Fritz, Jeremy Chardy, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas for the second crown of the season.

In the title match, Novak took down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 32 minutes, controlling the pace from start to finish to conquer Masters 1000 crown no. 33, joining Rafael Nadal at the top of the list. It was the second final at this level for Tsitsipas after Toronto last summer and it came after beating Rafael Nadal in a thrilling match on Saturday night, not having enough energy to give his best against world no.

1 a day later. Stefanos toppled Novak in Toronto 2018 but stood no chance in Madrid, reaching only one deuce on the return and never earning break chances. On the other hand, Novak broke the youngster once in each set to bring the match home in style and conquer the third Madrid crown, the first since 2016.

Djokovic did everything right on the court, taming rival's shots and delivering a fine package of offensive tennis with a strong defense to leave Tsitsipas behind and cross the finish line first, hitting 28 winners and just 18 unforced errors.

Stefanos counted to 19 winners and 21 mistakes, failing to follow Novak's pace in the shortest and mid-range rallies, with the Serb making a crucial difference with the first groundstroke after the serve. Novak settled into a beautiful rhythm right from the start, breaking Stefanos in the second game after a loose forehand from the Greek and staying in front all the time, sealing the opener with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3 after 41 minutes.

Stefanos fought better in set number two, fending off two break chances in game three and serving to extend the set at 4-4. When it mattered the most, Djokovic shifted into a higher gear and broke the rival at 15 after a forehand error from Stefanos, converting the fourth match point on own serve in the next game to celebrate the first ATP title since the Australian Open.