Djokovic wins 6-4, 6-3 over Federer to capture fourth Rome Masters title
World No1 will enter Roland Garros with unbeaten record on clay in 2015
Federer has never won a championship at Rome despite 15 appearances
That’s all from Rome, where Novak Djokovic has further cemented his status as the French Open favorite. Incredible to think we’ll have two guys at Roland Garros who enter with an undefeated record on clay this year and a third who’s won the tournament in nine of the past 10 years. Until then.
Now it’s Djokovic
“È sempre un piacere sfidare Roger Federer, oggi sono molto contento,” says Djokovic, addressing the crowd in Italian. “Mi sento a casa qui. Ringrazio voi del pubblico. Ogni anno è sempre troppo bello tornare qui. Siete insuperabili.”
“It’s been a wonderful week, I’m happy I chose to come and play,” says Federer while accepting his runner-up plate. “It’s been a good year so far, a good tournament, but Novak was too strong today. Congratulations, great effort, keep it up.”
This opera singer at the trophy ceremony
She’s been going on for some time now.
Jesus, Italy, WE GET IT. You're into opera. You're classier than everywhere else. Change the record/aria/diva.
Djokovic has now won 19 of the last 41 Masters tournaments. He’s now won four titles in Rome after winning it in 2008 (over Wawrinka), 2011 (over Nadal) and 2014 (over Nadal). He’s now won at least four titles at three Masters tournaments: Miami (five), Indian Wells and Rome (four apiece).
It’s crazy to think Federer had a break-point chance at 4-4 in the first set. Had he converted there, it might have been an entirely different match. Instead, Djokovic won eight of the next 11 games and a majority of the points. That was the only break point he faced all day. Trophy ceremony forthcoming.
Second set: Djokovic 6-3 Federer
Federer sprays a forehand wide on championship point to give Djokovic a fourth Rome time. Fitting, given Federer’s struggles on the forehand side today, but the story here is all about Djokovic, who will enter Roland Garros after a perfect clay-court run-up.
Second set: *Djokovic 5-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer with a straightforward hold, but now it’s Djokovic who will serve for the championship.
Second set: Djokovic 5-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic sprints out to a 40-0 lead then loses a point on a lob attempt: only the 10th point he’s surrendered in nine service games. Incredible. Closes it out on the following point to move within a single game of a fourth Rome title.
Second set: *Djokovic 4-2 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer still serving well enough to stake the hold but it seems as if Djokovic will just play out the string here. A hold for Federer but Novak is getting a freshly strung racket to serve at 4-2.
Second set: Djokovic 4-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic serving just so well, not giving Federer a chance. Another easy hold. Here’s a telling stat:
Staggering stat: Djokovic leading Federer in baseline points won by margin of 30-12. He takes a commanding 6-4, 3-0 lead.
Second set: *Djokovic 3-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer falls behind 30-40 to give Djokovic another break-point chance – an opportunity to essentially put the match out of reach. He saves it with a net approach off the serve and quick volley winner, then serves his way out of trouble.
Second set: Djokovic 3-0 Federer* (*denotes next server)
That was quick. Very easy hold for Djokovic. Feels like this could go downhill in a hurry.
Second set: *Djokovic 2-0 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer falls behind 15-40 to give Djokovic two break-point opportunities. Saves the first with an ace, then the second with a highlight-reel backhand down the line. Just breathtaking shot-making. Yet Djokovic wasn’t done pressing, forcing a third break-point chance. This time Federer blinks, sending a running forehand wide and giving Novak the early break in the second. That feels important. No consistency from Federer’s forehand today.
Second set: Djokovic 1-0 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic picks up right where he left off in the first, serve dialed in, not giving Federer much opportunity to get a foothold in the points. An elementary hold to open the second. An alarming stat for Federer fans: Djokovic is 11-1 in their matches when he wins the first set.
First set: Djokovic 6-4 Federer
Serving at 15-30, Federer comes to the net and is very nearly passed by Djokovic, which would have given him two set-point opportunities, but a lunging volley from Federer moves the score to 30-30. Two otherworldly returns from Djokovic, then a brilliant cross-court forehand winner from Novak to give him set point. Then Djokovic scores the first break point of the match at the most crucial juncture to date when Federer nets a shot. First set to the Serb.
First set: Djokovic 5-4 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic serving at 40-30, whips a cross-court forehand just wide to set up deuce. On the next point Federer extends Djokovic into an extended rally and Djokovic misses the same forehand wide, giving Federer the first break-point opportunity of the match. A 20-shot rally as Djokovic hammers Federer’s backhand, ultimately saving the break point. Moments later he punctuates the hold with a thudding ace. Longest game of the match so far at just over seven minutes.
First set: *Djokovic 4-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer serving incredibly well today. Another easy hold. This time it involved a combination of strong serving to put Djokovic on his heels followed by net approaches on back-to-back points. Strong stuff early. Who will blink first?
First set: Djokovic 4-3 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Neither player returning very well as Djokovic coasts to another easy hold. Novak has dropped just three points on his serve today.
First set: *Djokovic 3-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer answers Djokovic’s game with several drop shots of his own. Then seals the hold with an ace. Quick service games here and neither player has faced a break-point opportunity yet or really come close.
First set: Djokovic 3-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Another easy hold for Djokovic on a series of clever drop shots, including a picturesque backhand to seal the game. Both men very serious in the early stages here.
First set: *Djokovic 2-2 Federer (*denotes next server)
Frst choppy waters of the day as Federer falls behind 0-30 and is extended to a pair of deuce points. A gorgeous backhand winner down the line to close the game and stay on serve.
First set: Djokovic 2-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic holds at love, sealing the game with a forehand winner. Another easy hold.
First set: *Djokovic 1-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer responds with an equally stress-free hold. A powerful forehand from Federer gives him a 40-15 lead and sees Djokovic lose his footing on the baseline clay – which Kevin Mitchell noted has been a hot-button topic this week – and appears to be limping a bit.
First set: Djokovic 1-0 Federer* (*denotes next server)
A clinical service game from the top-ranked Djokovic to open the match, who wins the first three points on an ace and two net approaches.
Warm-ups are underway
The turnaround after the women’s match is complete, the players have emerged from the tunnel and warm-ups are underway. Federer wins the toss and allows Djokovic to serve first.
About 20 minutes until men’s final
The women’s trophy presentation is finished and we’re hearing the men’s final between Djokovic and Federer should start after the top of the hour. So at least 20 minutes.
Interviewer: What do you like the most about tennis?
Novak: Forehand, backhand, volley. With those we win the opponents.
The countdown begins
Maria Sharapova has just finished off a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Carla Suárez Navarro on Campo Centrale to capture the women’s title. It’s Sharapova’s third title here, where she’s 26-3 lifetime. Not much longer now before Djokovic and Federer take the court.
Some notes courtesy of the ATP Tour:
Greetings from Rome where Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are minutes away from meeting in the Rome Masters final. It’s the 39th meeting between the longtime rivals with Federer holding a 20-18 edge in the all-time series. Plenty at stake today with $628,100 and 1,000 rankings points on the line. What’s more, both Djokovic and Federer are tied on 23 Masters titles. Today’s winner will take sole ownership of second place on the all-time leaderboard, moving within three of Rafael Nadal’s 27.
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime why not read Kevin Mitchell’s report from Rome on a center court surface Djokovic has described as “dangerous”:
Djokovic took the Argentinian chair umpire Damian Steiner to task during a changeover in the second set, complaining that two visible dips, one on the baseline of the advantage court, made the surface hazardous. He did not receive a sympathetic response.
“That’s the thing that I wish I’d done better: not to get frustrated that much about the court,” he said later. “But people need to understand that at this level every single thing matters to us, especially the court. And it’s obvious that the court is not where it’s supposed to be, condition-wise.