ROME — World number one Novak Djokovic overcame a sluggish start to lift his fifth Italian Open title on Monday, defeating Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 for a record 36th ATP Masters crown.
Playing in his maiden ATP 1000 final, eighth seed Schwartzman raced out of the blocks to convert two break point opportunities for a 3-0 lead as Djokovic’s usually clinical backhand offered up some errors.
An on-and-off drizzle at Foro Italico, which included a smattering of fans, added to Djokovic’s frustration but he still found a way past Schwartzman’s serve to draw level at 3-3.
Djokovic’s relentless baseline hitting came to the fore when he broke Schwartzman in the 12th game to take the opening set, despite committing 18 unforced errors.
The top seed stepped up the intensity to break Schwartzman’s serve twice before serving out the match comfortably to seal victory — clinching it with a drop shot. — Reuters