Djokovic outsmarts Tsitsipas to clinch third Madrid title

Madrid: Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic defeated Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the Madrid Open final, claiming his third title at the clay-court event and 33rd ATP Masters 1000 crown.

“These are the best tournaments, biggest tournaments we have in our sport, in the ATP, of course alongside the Grand Slams,” Efe news quoted Djokovic as saying following his victory on Sunday. “This is as important and as good as it gets.”

The world No. 1 took one hour and 32 minutes to defeat the rising Greek star, adding a third championship in the Spanish capital to the trophies he won in 2011 and 2016.

At the end of his 250th week atop the ATP rankings, Djokovic managed to clinch his second title of the year.

The 31-year-old Serbian, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, now has 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles, tying the record set by Spanish star Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has won a total of 74 titles since turning pro in 2003.

Tsitsipas seemed tired after his semis victory over Nadal, a three-set match that the Greek won after two hours and 33 minutes of play on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Tsitsipas also competed in doubles at the Madrid Open, a run that ended in the semis on Friday.

Tsitsipas was hoping to lift his third trophy this year, following the crowns he won in Estoril and Marseille.

Djokovic, however, established his authority from the beginning, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first set in 12 minutes and eventually sealing it 6-3 in 40 minutes.

In the second set, Tsitsipas showed more drive and held serve to 4-4, but the Serb broke him in the ninth game, taking the set 6-4 and grabbing the title.

“He’s very talented,” Djokovic said of Tsitsipas. “He beat Rafa yesterday and I think they finished the match around midnight. He had a very late night. I could see he wasn’t as dynamic in his movements as he was last night. That’s probably due to the long match he had.”

“But he’s had a terrific week and it’s a big win obviously for me today and in this tournament. I’m really looking forward to continuing this streak in Rome,” the Serb said.

This was the second meeting between the players. Tsitsipas upset Djokovic in the round of 16 at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada.

“I wasn’t playing my best tennis after Australia, so I was looking to regain the momentum this week,” Djokovic said, “I started off well. I didn’t drop a set the entire tournament, so I’m very pleased. I played some of my best tennis here.”