Italian Open: The world number one Novak Djokovic won a record 36th Masters title by beating Diego Schwartzman at Rome.
The Serb, playing in his first tournament after being disqualified from this month’s US Open, won 7-5 6-3 in the final of Italian Open to ensure he goes into next week’s French Open on a high.
Djokovic, 33, drew level with Rafael Nadal last month on the all-time list of Masters winners with his Western & Southern Open title but is now clear. The French Open starts on Sunday, with Nadal seeking a record-extending 13th men’s singles title in Paris.
Djokovic has also passed childhood idol Pete Sampras for the second-most weeks at No. 1 with 287 — trailing only Roger Federer’s 310 weeks in the top spot.
In the women’s category top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania won her first Italian Open title after defending champion Czech Karolína Pliskova retired midway through the final with an injury. Halep was leading 6-0, 2-1 when Czech player Pliskova stopped playing after just 31 minutes.
However, Pliskova was clearly struggling with an injury and despite receiving some treatment between sets on her lower back and leg, the Czech opted to retire to give Halep her first title in Rome.
“I know that’s not the way how Karolina wanted to finish the tournament and the final,” Halep said at the trophy presentation ceremony. “Good luck in the French Open, hopefully we will meet again there in the final.
“Finally, after two finals I could win this title. I love this tournament and I’m really happy that I have this beautiful trophy in my hands now.”