2022 in Review: Novak Djokovic leaves Rafael Nadal further behind

Novak Djokovic claimed his 38th Masters 1000 title in Rome

2022 in Review: Novak Djokovic leaves Rafael Nadal further behind

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic toppled Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 in the Rome Masters final. Novak needed an hour and 36 minutes to dismiss the Greek at Foro Italico, delivering a bagel in the opener and catching the rival in the second set's closing stages to seal the deal. Thus, Novak lifted his sixth crown at Foro Italico, standing as the second most successful player after Rafael Nadal. Djokovic secured his 38th Masters 1000 crown, leaving Nadal on 36 and extending his record. The Serb clinched a Masters 1000 title in the 14th season and gained a boost ahead of Roland Garros. Novak celebrated his 1000th ATP victory in the semi-final against Casper Ruud and lifted his 87th ATP title a day later. Djokovic ousted Tsitsipas for the seventh time in nine encounters and the sixth time in a row. Novak fired six aces and took 20 points more than his rival thanks to a one-sided opening set.

Novak Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the Rome final.

The Serb served at 70% and dropped 14 points in nine service games. He faced two break points and got broken once. It led Stefanos toward a 5-2 lead in set number two, but it was not enough for the Greek to force a decider. Tsitsipas struggled on the second serve and got broken four times from six chances given to Djokovic. Thus, he finished runner-up in his fifth Masters 1000 final. Novak had the advantage in the shortest and more extended rallies to forge the victory and move closer to his 90th ATP crown. A five-time champion broke at love in the encounter's first game following the rival's terrible volley at the net. Djokovic secured the second game with a forehand winner and denied Tsitsipas' three game points in the next one. Novak seized a break chance when Stefanos sprayed a backhand error to open a 3-0 gap and settle into a fine rhythm. Struggling to find the range with his backhand, Tsitsipas delivered another error in game five to fall 5-0 down in no time.

Novak closed the opener with a smash winner in the next one, providing a bagel in 29 minutes and hoping for more in set number two. The Greek raised his level and produced four comfortable holds to keep the pressure on world no. 1. Stefanos broke Novak at 15 in the fourth game after an extended rally and fired an ace in the next one to rattle off 12 of the previous 14 points and move 4-1 ahead. Djokovic faced a break point in game six that would have cost him the set. He denied it with a backhand crosscourt winner and closed the game for a boost. Stefanos painted a forehand crosscourt winner in the seventh game to open a 5-2 gap and served for the set in game nine. Djokovic broke back in the last moment at 3-5 after a routine forehand error from Tsitsipas, who could not recover in the remaining games. Novak held with ease in games ten and 12 to introduce a tie break, and they stayed neck and neck until 5-5. A service winner offered a match point to Djokovic. He seized it after another loose backhand from his rival to celebrate his sixth Foro Italico crown.