Halep wins first Rome title, Djokovic lifts fifth Italian Open trophy

Tanya Simon
September 24, 2020

Dropping only one set all week, Djokovic won his fifth Italian Open title on Monday after beating Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 in the final, and restored his confidence heading into Roland Garros, which starts in six days. "I love this tournament and I'm really happy that I have this handsome trophy in my hands now", she added, having lost the final in 2017 and 2018.

Against Schwartzman, who was playing his first Masters 1000 final, Djokovic recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the opening set and eventually wore down the steady Argentine to finish off the match in just under two hours - and just before it resumed raining.

The Romanian, who even shook off a hard fall in the second game, was at her aggressive and disciplined best while Pliskova looked sluggish with her on-court movement, failing to hit a single victor as she was bageled in 20 minutes. The final lasted 31 minutes. I think it's from playing so many tough matches in a row. And she made it all the way to the quarters before being stopped by Garbine Muguruza, who had more in the tank and reached the semis before losing in three sets to Halep.

Halep scored an immediate break in the second set, too, but Pliskova, perhaps buoyed up by some cheers of encouragement from the fans, fired off two outright winners against the Halep serve and broke back, her first game on the board. "Hopefully, I'll be able to raise that level for the French, because that's going to be necessary if I want to go deep in the tournament".

"I've finally won it", said Halep.

"The dream that every player has is to win a Grand Slam, so my dream is to do that of course, but I'm not thinking that far".

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"I definitely had to work hard for most of the points and it was really anybody's game in the first set".

Halep's win streak improved to 14 straight.

"I asked myself for a second if I should play and I thought I wanted to at least try".

Pliskova had won three of the previous four meetings with Halep but was full of appreciation for the Romanian after falling short this time around.

She won the Dubai title in February, before the coronavirus lockdown, coming back to claim victory in Prague last month having skipped the US Open.

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