Djokovic reconquers Madrid

Antonio Arenas Mutua News

It was a battle of youth versus experience, seniority against audacity, between two elite ATP Tour players. The final of the Mutua Madrid Open between Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas had all the necessary ingredients to be a high-octane clash and it did not disappoint. In the end the spoils went to the player who has lifted the most ATP Masters 1000 trophies, together with Rafa Nadal. It was the Serb who won 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 32 minutes.

Madrid’s 2011 and 2016 champion, the player from Belgrade, who will be 32 in ten days, reclaimed the title on the Madrid clay for his third crown in the Manolo Santana Stadium. In addition, the trophy gives him the chance to overtake Rafa Nadal, with whom he shares the ATP Masters 1000 record (33).

Players with the most ATP Masters 1000
Rafael Nadal. 33 titles
Novak Djokovic. 33 titles
Roger Federer. 28 titles

‘Nole’ picked up his second title of the year in the Caja Mágica (Australian Open and Mutua Madrid Open) and his first ATP Masters 1000 since winning in Shanghai last season. The most striking thing about this Djokovic victory is that it is his first on clay in the last three years, since completing the career Grand Slam at the French Open in 2016.

Djokovic had only crossed paths with Tsitsipas once before, in the ATP Masters 1000 in Canada 2018. It was at that tournament that the Greek earned his only experience in the final of an event of this category (lost to Rafael Nadal) before Sunday. But the Serb got his revenge in the Madrid final.

The ATP world number one made a statement of intent as soon as he was out of the blocks. Despite the Greek threatening his opening serve, reaching 15-30, Djokovic converted the game. His opponent did not follow suit and he strung together two more games to make it 3-0. 84% on his first serve was enough for Djokovic to keep his lead without offering a single break point to his adversary.

It was the fifth time Tsitsipas has faced a top-2 opponent in his career with a return of 1-3 before today. However, his only victory against an opponent of this calibre came on Saturday in the Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals against Nadal, the same player that had beaten him three times. And Djokovic joined that list by closing out the second set.

It the third game, at 1-1, 15-40 he threatened to convert the first break point of the set but Tsitsipas managed to hold his serve. It was in the ninth game when he made the decisive blow that earned him the 74th title of his career.