Catch 22 as Djokovic marches on in Rome

Maria Sharapova, of Russia, celebrates after defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, in the final of the Italian Open tennis tournament. (AP Photo/Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA via AP)
Maria Sharapova, of Russia, celebrates after defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, in the final of the Italian Open tennis tournament. (AP Photo/Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA via AP)
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World No 1 Novak Djokovic made it four titles in a row with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Roger Federer in the Italian Open final.

The Serbian took a few weeks off after his Monte Carlo triumph but there were no signs of rustiness in Rome, where he eased to a 22nd successive win yesterday.

The first set went with serve until Djokovic broke Federer in the 10th game, with another break early in the second enough to see off the challenge of the Swiss.

Djokovic has now won the Italian Open on four occasions and will be the man to beat when the French Open begins next Monday.

Federer set up his appearance in the final with a straight sets win over fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

Federer was too strong, coming through 6-4 6-2, although it was Wawrinka who started faster, racing to a 3-0 lead.

However, Federer got the match back to 3-3 and from there did not look back.

Djokovic was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over David Ferrer in one hour and 35 minutes in his semi-final at the atmospheric Foro Italico.

In the women’s tournament, Maria Sharapova claimed her third Rome title after coming from behind to beat Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6 7-5 6-1 in two hours and 35 minutes.

“It wasn’t easy to find a rhythm out there, with the way she plays, and the wind – I really had to adjust,” said Sharapova.

“But I’m proud I was able to stay in there.

“I never felt I was playing very clean until the end of the third set. So it shows that it’s good to hang in there and stay positive.

“In the end I was the fresher one, and the more aggressive one, so it’s all a positive. And looking at how I started the clay court season in Stuttgart and where I am now, I’m in a better spot.”