After an error-filled US Open 2020 which ultimately saw him getting defaulted, Djokovic clung to the Italian Open 2020 in an effort to shut off his haters.
Novak Djokovic clinches dramatic first set
Novak Djokovic was the one to serve first. Clinching early points, Djokovic was clear about his intentions. He was here for the trophy.
However, he let his overconfidence take control too soon in the first game. After trailing 0-30, Schwartzman returned a few good hits. Unforced errors from Djokovic saw Diego equalizing the scores before he broke the service to go 1-0 up in the set.
The Argentine resumed with his service and displayed some real quality in his game. One game up, he was capitalizing on Djokovic’s errors.
Although, the Serbian kept his nerve to take the game to the deuce. Djokovic was aiming for a break to level the game points. Unfortunately for him, he failed as Diego held his service to lead 2 games to 0.
A little drizzle on the court caused some problems for the players. However, the chair umpire asked then to continue.
Novak Djokovic was not satisfied with his game until now. He was seen mumbling to himself and seemed dejected.
Two games down and his service to go, Djokovic was trying to focus on his game to make a comeback. The Argentine was on a mission to stretch his lead.
He knew it wouldn’t be easy to defeat Djokovic once he got his rhythm. Therefore, he decided to attack him vigorously. His intent paid off as he broke Novak yet again. Breaking Djokovic for the second time in a row, the 28-year-old lead 3-0 in the set.
Comfortably leading 3 games, Diego decided to cut some slack. Djokovic clinched this opportunity to come out of his skin. Playing his trademark “Djoker” tennis, he broke Diego’s service to bounce back and reduce the gap. Although, the Argentine still led 3 games to 1.
Back into service, Djokovic found the perfect opportunity to put pressure back onto his opponent. Spectacular service, followed with intense cross-court rallies and razor precise finishing sealed the deal for the World number one. The set was far from over as Djokovic bounced back from 3 games down to make it 3-2.
The game had changed now. Djokovic’s pressure had transferred to the young Argentine.
Packing up 2 games in quick succession, Djokovic was back to his usual intimidating gameplay. Winning a couple of points, Djokovic quickly went up by 30-0 in the game.
Two points away from equalizing the game point, Djokovic was on a roll. However, Diego pulled back magnificently to drag the game towards a deuce.
Unfortunately for Diego, Djokovic laughed the last laugh with some incisive shots. Equalizing the set 3-3, Novak was booming with confidence and his array of shots were visible across the court.
Winning 3 games in a row, the Serbian was grilling the Argentine. But the game was far from over and he looked hungry for more.
Storming forward with splendor, Djokovic took his 4th game on the trot. Diego failed to answer Djokovic’s lethal rallies, and he lost his lead for the first time in the match.
Diego was not ready to accept defeat so easily. He was playing the finals and his intent was clearly visible.
Resonating a winning attitude, Diego resisted Djokovic’s returns to claim the game with his service. Breaking Djokovic’s streak of 4 games, he claimed his 4th to step on an equal footing.
Into the 9th game of the first set, the coveted long rallies began in full swing. Holding their perseverance and caution, both players stuck to their basics.
Points rolled out for each of them at regular intervals. Although, definite domination was absent in this game.
Long returns mixed with drop shots and exquisite topspin from both the players saw the game stretch towards deuce. Djokovic held on to his service to ride on his advantage to take the game, leading 5 games to 4.
Diego Schwartzman was now serving to stay in the game. When he was leading the game 3-0,he would’ve never thought that he will have to serve to save the set.
Down by a game, the Argentine was looking forward to gaining on his service. After a staggering feud, 8th seeded Diego emerged victorious to level the game 5-5.
Djokovic leashed out his inner beast as he took the next 2 games with ease. Diego made an effort to stay in the game; however, it wasn’t enough to grant him a win. 30-40 down in the final game, Diego hit his return a bit too long to hand over the set to Djokovic.
The Serbian pockets the second set as well
Repeating the first game of the first set, Diego Schwartzman broke Djokovic’s service to lead the second set 1-0 in no time. Although, this time he was a bit more cautious while claiming his points.
Djokovic took his time to make a comeback in the initial set. However, he wasted no effort to jump right into action early in the second set.
Losing his service to Diego, Novak Djokovic turned the tables around by breaking the Argentine’s service to level the scores 1 game each in the second set.
Both the players gave each other no ground to tread upon. Djokovic was in no mood to give away his victory, while Diego was not ready to surrender easily. Holding on to their games, both took the scores to 3 games each.
Djokovic was serving to go ahead in the second set. With the intent of putting his step forward to clinch the Championship, Djokovic was pushing hard for the points. Making Diego run to fetch the returns, Djokovic easily cruised past Diego to go 4-3 up.
Two games short of the Championship, Djokovic was completely dominating the game. Diego’s unforced errors and deep baseline game fetched him the advantage by breaking Diego’s service to lead the second set 5-3.
Djokovic was serving to clinch the Italian Open 2020. Keeping his composure intact and mind focussed, Djokovic never let Diego dominate him out of the championship game point.
Lethal service and equally lethal returns saw him surge ahead with 40-0 on the board. Diego Schwartzman played with his patience as he pulled off a couple of points to make the scores 40-30.
After a long rally, Djokovic sealed his Championship point with a perfect drop shot, to which Diego’s answer fell wide of the legal markings. The Serbian clinched the final in a dramatic fashion, winning 7-5, 6-3 against the Argentine.
Boost for Djokovic
Following his default in the US Open 2020, Djokovic was having a low tide in his career. The Italian Open was a parameter before the French Open 2020. Acting as a practice tournament for the clay, it was significant for the ones who came to Rome after the hard-court tournaments.
Novak lost a lot of confidence after the US Open debacle. This win probably gave him the needed confidence to clinch his 18th Grand Slam in Roland Garros. All eyes are on the French Open now.