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Novak’s Back: Djokovic Beats Tsitsipas for Sixth Rome Crown

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic celebrates his sixth career Rome title with a champagne shower. Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d’Italia Facebook

Rome is the culinary capital of the ATP Tour.

Novak Djokovic, whose parents once owned a pizza place, feasted on milestones in his Rome return.

World No. 1 Djokovic chewed Stefanos Tsitsipas up in the opening set scoring a 6-0, 7-6(5) triumph to capture his sixth career Internazionali BNL d’Italia crown at the Foro Italico.

The title triumph comes 14 years after Djokovic rallied past Stan Wawrinka to win his first Rome championship.

Djokovic celebrated his 87th career championship, including his record-extending 38th Masters 1000 title, spreading a champagne shower across the court.

A day after Djokovic received a ceremonial cake after dismissing Casper Ruud for his 1,000th career win he solidified his status as a Roland Garros favorite with a powerful performance.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia is presented with a cake after his 1000th career win followng victory in the men’s singles semi-final match against Casper Ruud of Norway at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images/Internazionali BNL d’Italia Instagram)

“I have been building my form in the last couple of weeks,” Djokovic said on court. “Like the previous years I knew that my best shape on the clay is usually coming around Rome, so there couldn’t be a better time, obviously, coming into Roland-Garros with the title at this wonderful tournament.”

In a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros final that saw Djokovic rally from two sets down to defeat Tsitsipas, the 34-year-old Serbian took charge from the start.

Djokovic won eight of the first nine points and broke three times in a row dispensing the opening-set bagel.

Monte-Carlo champion Tsitsipas tore through 12 of 16 points breaking in the fourth game and consolidating for a 4-1 second-set lead. Tsitsipas served for the second set at 5-3, but Djokovic broke back and was the better player in the tie breaker.

“It was a little bit tight in the second for me,” Djokovic said. “At this level one or two points can turn a match around. He was back in the game, 4-1, 30-40, match could have easily gone in the third set but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time.”

The 34-year-old Serbian superstar earned his first title of 2022 and first championship since he won the Paris Masters Indoors last fall.

“In the tiebreak I was just an inch better, maybe calmer, but it was a tight tiebreak for both of us,” Djokovic said.