On Monday, Novak Djokovic became the Masters 1000 record holder again, conquering the fifth Rome crown and the 36th title at this level, leaving Rafael Nadal on 35. In his 52nd Masters 1000 final, Djokovic toppled Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes, digging deep in the opener to make the crucial difference.
Thus, Djokovic has extended his streak in the Masters 1000 finals after winning the opening set to 29-0, never losing a match after getting his name on the scoreboard before the opponent! Known as one of the most formidable competitors when we talk about the mental aspect, Novak is almost unbeatable when he claims the opening set, ready to push the rivals to the limits and reach the goal before them.
Despite some tight encounters that went down to the wire, Djokovic is yet to experience a loss after taking the opener in the Masters 1000 title match, proving that again on Monday by toppling Schwartzman after coming from 3-0 down in the first set.
Novak gave serve away twice at the beginning of the encounter when he still hadn't found his strokes and thrice overall, stealing Schwartzman's serve five times to cross the finish line and score the 31st victory in 32 matches in 2020.
Novak kicked off the action with a service winner, wasting a game point and suffering a break when his backhand found the net. Schwartzman, the first-time Masters 1000 finalist, fired unexpected four service winners in game two, securing the game after a wrongly-judged drop shot from Novak to cement the break and move 2-0 up.
Struggling to find the rhythm in the rain, Novak sprayed two backhand errors to hand another break to Diego, who was 3-0 in front after only 18 minutes. World no. 1 started to hit with a stronger pace in the fourth game for a wake-up call, creating a break opportunity and converting it after Schwartzman's double fault.
Novak Djokovic is 29-0 after winning the opening set in the Masters 1000 final.
Attacking with more accuracy and depth, Novak held at 15 with an ace to reduce the deficit to 2-3, taking a break chance when the Argentine netted a forehand right after the serve in the next one to get back to the positive side of the scoreboard.
Djokovic held at 15 in game seven, rattling off 16 of the previous 21 points and moving in front for the first time, looking much better than in the opening 20 minutes. At 30-15, Diego fired a perfect forehand down the line winner in the eighth game, sealing it with a service winner for 4-4.
Djokovic fended off a break point in the next one with a volley winner, landing another for a significant hold in the closing stages and a 5-4 advantage. Serving to stay in the set, Schwartzman erased a set point with a bold forehand winner, bringing the game home after two deuces and a backhand down the line winner that prolonged the set for him.
Novak opened a 6-5 lead with a hold after deuce, forcing the rival to serve for staying in the set for the second time. Pushing strong on the return, Djokovic converted the fourth set point for 7-5 after 70 minutes, gaining a massive boost ahead of set number two.
Starting all over, Diego kicked off the second set with a break at 15, ready to give his best and fight for the trophy. Bouncing back immediately, Djokovic leveled the score at 1-1 when Schwartzman's forehand landed wide.
The Serb placed a winner at the net for a commanding hold in game three, and the Argentine fired four winners in the next one for 2-2. Djokovic withstood two break points a few minutes later, staying focused and bringing the game home with a service winner for 3-2.
Diego stayed in contention, holding with a reliable drop shot before Djokovic opened a 4-3 lead. Cracking under pressure, Schwartzman sprayed unforced errors in game eight to lose serve at love following a backhand down the line winner from Djokovic, who held at 30 to seal the deal and celebrate the title.