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Novak Djokovic Sweeps Every Set, Wins Italian Open Title Ahead of 2022 French Open

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2022

TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Novak Djokovic scored a straight-sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday to complete an unblemished run through the 2022 Italian Open men's bracket for his first ATP Tour title of the season.

Djokovic didn't drop a single set across five matches to win the clay-court tournament, a Masters 1000 event, for the sixth time, which ranks second in history to Rafael Nadal (10).

The top-ranked player in the world has been working to find top form after missing the majority of the early-season schedule because he's unvaccinated against COVID-19, which made him ineligible to compete in several events, including the Australian Open.

He looked back to his usual dominant level in the Italian Open, which marked his fourth tournament since mid-April after he played just one in the year's first three-and-a-half months.

Not only did Djokovic win the title without dropping a set, but he did so against a tough group of opponents: Aslan Karatsev, Stan Wawrinka, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud and Tsitsipas.

The 34-year-old Serbian looked downright unstoppable in the first set Sunday en route to a 6-0 clean sweep. His Greek counterpart played better in the second set, eventually forcing a tiebreaker, but the top seed won the breaker 7-5 to capture the championship.

"I have been building my form for the past couple of weeks, and I knew that my best shape on clay usually comes around Rome time, so it could not be better going into Roland Garros with a title," Djokovic said after the win.

He extended his own record with a 38th Masters 1000 title.

It's hard to consider anyone other than Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, the favorite at the season's second Grand Slam event. Carlos Alcaraz has also been on quite a roll leading up to the tournament at Roland Garros, which gets underway May 22.

That said, Djokovic's performance in Rome showed he's back on track and makes him a legitimate threat to capture his 21st major title in the coming weeks.

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