ATP ROME MASTERS 1000: Djokovic Juggernaut Rolls On

Novak Djokovic won the Rome Masters for the fourth time by outwitting old rival Roger Federer 6-4,6-3 at the Foro Italico to claim the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. It was the Serb’s 39th meeting and the top seed Djokovic narrowed Federer’s lead to 20-19 two months after beating the Swiss at the Indian Wells Final. It was his fourth masters title in 2015; Indian Wells and Miami on hard courts, Monte Carlo and Rome on European Red Clay, it was also his 24th Masters title of his career. Having won the Australian Open in Melbourne this year for the fifth time and claiming the Paris Indoor ATP 1000 and the ATP World Tour Final in London at the end of 2014; he is now on 36 match win streak in high level tournaments.

The first set went with serves and at 4-4 , Djokovic’s defensive skills enabled him to save the only break point he faced in the 76 minute match and then went on to break the Federer serve in the tenth game despite the Swiss having a game point to level the score at 5-5. The defending champion never looked in danger after breaking again in the second game of the second set and wrapped up the match when Federer hit a forehand out on matchpoint. Djokovic is now only 3 short of Nadal’s tally of 27 masters title and is 35-2 for the year with a 22 match winning streak. Federer fell to 25-5 in 2015.

Djokovic who turns 28 on May 22 will enter the French Open starting on May 24 at the Roland Garros in Paris, is now the firm favourite for the title and finally should go on to complete the career slam. Djokovic has 5 Australian Open, 2 Wimbledon and 1 US Open. Djokovic’s best at the French Open has been a runner up finish loosing to the nine time champion Rafael Nadal in both 2012 & 2014. Federer was aiming to win one of the two Masters series titles to elude him, Rome and Monte Carlo where he has been a finalist four time each. Djokovic only needs to win in Cincinnati where he too has been a runner up on four ocassions, to be the first player on ATP to be victorious at 9 different ATP Masters.

Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the only players to have attained the career slam, with Andre Agassi who won the Olympic gold in Atlanta 1996 and Rafael Nadal who claimed Gold at Beijing 2008 being the only players to have the Golden slam of Tennis.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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