International Tennis Weekly #9: Djokovic, Sharapova Win

Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova triumphed at the Italian Open in Rome – the final major tune-up event ahead of the French Open. Presenting our weekly recap of international tennis.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic with the Italian Open trophy in Rome

Novak Djokovic Wins Fourth Masters Series Title in Rome

Another Masters Series event got completed and another title for top-ranked Novak Djokovic! The Serb extended his winning streak to 22 matches with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the second-ranked Roger Federer.

This is Djokovic’s fourth title in Rome and the 24th Masters Series of his career – three behind Rafael Nadal who has 27. The win sets Djokovic as the firm favourite for the French Open – the only Grand Slam missing from his resume – which begins on Sunday.

Djokovic, who took his record to 19-20 against Federer with the win, has now won all the four Masters Series events he has competed in this year.

For Nadal, the tournament turned out to be another disappointment. The Spaniard lost to Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, his fifth loss of the season on clay – the most he has lost on clay in any single year since 2003. While his record makes him a favourite anytime he plays in Paris, Nadal will surely need to up his game and form and hopefully a return to Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros will help him find that.

Andy Murray, who had won his last two events on clay, pulled out after winning his second round match due to fatigue but should be confident heading into Paris. The doubles title was won by Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero, who beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

Maria Sharapova Wins 11th Career Clay Court Title in Rome

Maria Sharapova came away with yet another clay court title by beating Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the women’s Italian Open final. This is her 11th career clay court title and the 35th of her career. The win moves her back to No. 2 in the rankings and gives her a major boost of confidence ahead of her French Open defense.

Suarez Navarro has now reached three big finals this year and rises to a career-high No. 8 in the world which makes her a dark horse in Paris.

Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament after winning her second round match due to an elbow injury but the American should be fine for a run at her 20th Grand Slam title. World No. 3 Simona Halep reached the semi-finals before going down to Suarez Navarro while another Russian Daria Gavrilova made it to the semi-finals after knocking out Ana Ivanovic in the second round. Watch out for her as a dangerous floater in Paris.

The doubles event was won by Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who upset the top-seeded duo of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-3 for their third doubles title of the season.

Djokovic and Serena Retain the Top Rankings

In the ATP rankings, Djokovic continues to head the table with a 4,600 points lead over Federer. Murray remains at No. 3 while Tomas Berdych climbs to a career-high No. 4 and Kei Nishikori climbs one spot to No. 5. Meanwhile, Milos Raonic drops two spots to No. 6 and Nadal stays put at No. 7, which will be his seeding in Paris.

On the WTA rankings, Serena retains the No. 1 ranking while Sharapova climbs one spot to No. 2. Halep drops one spot to No. 3 and Suarez Navarro climbs 2 spots to No. 8.

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