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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