Final preview: Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman continue career milestones in Rome | ATP Tower


When Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman meet for the fifth time in their ATP Head2Head series (Djokovic leads 4-0) in Italy’s Internazionali BNL final on Monday, the two players will not only fight for the trophy. Rome, but also for a personal stage.After completing his second career Golden Masters at the Western and Southern Open last month, Djokovic is the joint Masters 1000 title leader alongside fellow 35-time champion Rafael Nadal. The Rome final offers Djokovic the opportunity to overtake his rival by lifting a 36th level trophy.

Most ATP Masters 1000 titles

On the other side of the net, Schwartzman is one win away from making it into the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP rankings for the first time in his career. The Argentine can pull off the feat by beating Djokovic for the first time to win his first Masters 1000 trophy.

Djokovic has lost just one set en route to his 10th final in the Italian capital, improving his game record to 30-1 this year. The 33-year-old has been tested throughout the week in each of his last three clashes in Rome.

Novak Djokovic is unbeaten in four ATP Head2Head matches against Diego Schwartzman. “/>

Djokovic played an 87-minute set against Filip Krajinovic in the third round, survived a three-set quarter-final battle against Dominik Koepfer and saved two set points in the first set of his semi-final clash against Casper Ruud. The Serbian has always produced his best under the pressure of closing in on a fifth trophy at Foro Italico.

Djokovic’s victory over Ruud improved his semi-final record in Rome to 10-1, but the Serbian did not fare as well in the Masters 1000 league games. Djokovic is 4-5 in the final. in Rome, which includes losses in their last three league games (2016-’17, ’19).

An opportunity to overtake Nadal and make more history in Rome are huge motivators for the world No.1. The four-time champion is still as ambitious as he was the first time he arrived at the tournament, where he has enjoyed consistent success ever since. 2007. Djokovic has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his 14 appearances for Foro Italico.

“The 1000 Masters events are as important as they are on the Tour,” said Djokovic. “These are the events where I want to do my best other than the Grand Slam and the [Nitto ATP Finals]… The finals of these great events mean a lot even after 15 years [of] be on the Tour. I’m still motivated to get my hands on the trophy. That’s why I work as much as anyone else, really, on the Tour.

Between Djokovic and the Masters 1000 title record is a finalist for the first time at the level: Diego Schwartzman. Djokovic enters the competition with an ATP Head2Head record of 4-0 against the 28-year-old, but will be well aware of the threat the Argentine poses. The pair met in the semi-finals at this event last year, with Djokovic finally winning in straight sets after two hours and 31 minutes.

Djokovic will face an opponent with maximum confidence on Centrale. Schwartzman lost just one set en route to the quarter-finals, where he claimed his first win in 10 matches against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal. Schwartzman described the straight set victory as his “best game ever” and his latest opponent was equally impressed.

“Diego played the game of his life [against Nadal]… He was so impressive, ”Djokovic said. “And this proves that anything is possible, even [against] Nadal, who is probably the toughest challenge in our sport, plays Nadal on clay. But he managed to win in straight sets, which proves his quality.

The opportunity to step into the Top 10 for the first time and claim the biggest title of his career with just one win makes Monday’s final perhaps the greatest game of Schwartzman’s career. The world No.15 is ready to push his limits to fulfill two dreams at the Masters 1000 tournament.

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“I have two dreams tomorrow. One wins a tournament like this and the second is to be in the Top 10, ”said Schwartzman. “Both are here tomorrow on the pitch against Novak. I know it is very difficult. I almost need to play more than my 100%.

“I don’t mean impossible, because it’s not impossible. I know I can beat him. But it’s going to be very difficult. But the chances are there tomorrow… I will do everything to be more than my 100% tomorrow on the court.

After his victory against Nadal, Schwartzman was able to maintain his level and achieve another decisive victory just 24 hours later over Centrale. The Argentine was trailed by a three-time break in the deciding set of his semi-final clash against Denis Shapovalov, but fought back to secure a memorable victory in the final tie-break after three hours and 15 minutes.

“At the end, maybe the third set that we were playing for a lot of things: for the final, for the Top 10, for the game… The nerves were there. It was tough, ”Schwartzman said.

“But I think I tried my luck thinking of [the] win and nothing else, when it served for the match and [a] break in the third.

Having already ended a winless streak against Nadal, Schwartzman will now try to do the same against Djokovic. The rewards of victory in Rome are clear to both men. But who will be able to take his chance on Monday and put his name in the history books?


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