Djokovic beats Tsitsipas to win his 3rd Madrid Open title

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy as he celebrates winning the final of the Madrid Open tennis tournament in two sets, 6-3, 6-4, against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipa in Madrid, Spain, on May 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas pose with their trophies after Novak Djokovic wins the final in Madrid Open on May 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Sergio Perez)
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Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their ATP Madrid Open final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 12, 2019. ( AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)
Updated 13 May 2019

Djokovic beats Tsitsipas to win his 3rd Madrid Open title

  • Djokovic joins Rafael Nadal as the most successful players in Masters 1000 tournaments
  • He now has three Madrid Open trophies, adding to the ones he won in 2011 and 2016

MADRID: Novak Djokovic celebrated a lot more than a record-tying 33rd Masters 1000 title at the Madrid Open.
Djokovic left the Spanish capital feeling pretty good about his game, too, carrying a lot of confidence into the rest of the clay-court season.
The top-ranked Djokovic earned a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday to join Nadal as the most successful players in Masters 1000 tournaments, moving five ahead of Roger Federer, who is third in the all-time list.
It was Djokovic’s second title of the season, adding to his triumph in the Australian Open.
“I feel like this tournament win was very important for my level of confidence because after the Australian Open I wasn’t playing my best, I wasn’t finding the right game and the consistency on the court in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo,” Djokovic said. “(It’s a) very important time for me in the season, because this gives me a lot of confidence prior to Rome and, of course, Roland Garros, where I definitely want to play my best.”
Djokovic will be seeking his second French Open title in June. He now has three Madrid Open trophies, adding to the ones he won in 2011 and 2016.
“These are the best tournaments, biggest tournaments we have in our sport, in the ATP, of course alongside the Grand Slams,” Djokovic said. “This is as important and as good as it gets.”




Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his trophy as he poses with children after winning the ATP Madrid Open final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 12, 2019. (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)


Djokovic was in control from the start against his 20-year-old Greek opponent, who had defeated Nadal in the Madrid semifinals and was trying to become the first player to win three tour titles this season.
The Serb broke Tsitsipas early in the first set and late in the second to comfortably close out the match at the Magic Box center court, securing his 14th clay title — and 74th overall — without dropping a set.
The eighth-seeded Tsitsipas, the tour’s winningest player in 2019 with 27 victories, lacked the intensity and aggressiveness that he showed against second-ranked Nadal and was overpowered by Djokovic. He had beaten Djokovic in Toronto last year in the first meeting between the two players.
“He deserved the victory, he played unbelievable. I couldn’t do much,” Tsitsipas said. “Physically I was not there. My legs were not coping with my mind. Completely I could feel the fatigue and this soreness, not just in my legs, but everywhere in my body. I had a tough match last night, so he took advantage of that. I just didn’t have solutions.”
Djokovic didn’t concede a break point on Sunday, earning a crucial one for himself at 4-4 in the second set by returning Tsitsipas’ overhead shot with a backhand winner down the line. He then served out to win the match.
The 31-year-old Djokovic, who now has 200 wins against top 10 opponents, had struggled after winning the Australian Open, with his best result since then having been a quarterfinal appearance in Monte Carlo at the start of the clay-court season.
He was coming off another confidence-boosting win over an in-form Dominic Thiem to make it to the final in Madrid.
Tsitsipas, who will reach a career-high No. 7 ranking this week, won titles in Estoril and Marseille, and reached the final in Dubai, where he lost to Federer. He was beaten by Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals for his best-ever showing in a Grand Slam. The Toronto final, when he lost to Nadal, was his first in a Masters 1000 event.
In the doubles final, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau defeated Thiem and Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-3 for their second Madrid Open title, adding to their 2016 victory.
Kiki Bertens won the women’s title on Saturday.
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Juventus coach Sarri: Cristiano is in another class

Updated 20 January 2020

Juventus coach Sarri: Cristiano is in another class

  • The 38-year-old is the only player to have scored at least league 15 goals in each of the last 14 seasons

MILAN: Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to form has coincided with Juventus taking a firm grip on Serie A.

Ronaldo did not score at all in November, but he scored twice as Juventus beat Parma 2-1 on Sunday to take his tally to 11 in his last seven league matches.

The win also put Juventus on course for a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title as the Bianconeri moved four points above Inter Milan. They were two points behind the Nerazzurri a month and a half ago.

Ronaldo has struggled with injury this season and missed three Serie A matches, playing through pain in others.

The 38-year-old Portugal forward has nevertheless scored 16 goals in 17 matches, becoming the first Juventus player to have that many goals after 20 matches since Omar Sivori in 1960.

Ronaldo is also the only player to have scored at least 15 goals in one of Europe’s top five leagues in each of the last 14 seasons.

“Cristiano is in another class,” Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said. “Sometimes he poses you a little bit of a problem but he will solve 100 others for you.”

While Juventus managed to grind out results in November when Ronaldo wasn’t scoring, Inter struggle when their top scorers are not on form.

There have been three matches since December where neither Romelu Lukaku nor Lautaro Martínez have managed to find the back of the net. All three ended in draws.

The latest was a surprise 1-1 result at relegation-threatened Lecce on Sunday.

That is also down to a general drop in pace in the team as, prior to that, Inter had managed to win the previous four matches where Lukaku and Martínez didn’t score.

“The final result stems from the fact that we’re a team that needs to go at 200 kph. We cannot afford to be off the pace,” Inter coach Antonio Conte said. “It’s evident that if we go at an average pace, if we go into cruise speed, we become a normal team and aren’t able to get a result.”

Substitute

Mario Balotelli’s match lasted only seven minutes on Sunday and he could now find himself with even less playing time in the coming weeks.

Balotelli came on as a substitute in the 74th minute of Brescia’s 2-2 draw against Cagliari but shortly afterward was shown a yellow card for a high tackle and then immediately shown a second after repeatedly swearing at the referee.

Depending on what referee Antonio Giua writes in his report, Balotelli could be suspended for several matches.

The forward will certainly miss Brescia’s next match, against former team AC Milan.

“I think the yellow card was too harsh. Mario didn’t feel it was right, and his protests didn’t seem excessive to me,” Brescia coach Eugenio Corini said. “It’s a pity because he came on with the desire to make us win the match.”

Balotelli was banned for the first four matches of the Serie A season following a red card in his last match with Marseille last season.

“It’s incredible how one episode can always drastically change from too negative or too positive everyone’s opinion on the character or professionalism of a person,” Balotelli wrote on his Instagram story after the match. “I will continue with my daily work this time, too. It’s not a problem. You can continue to judge me as you wish.”