Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a shot against Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
- Novak Djokovic’s semifinal win at the Italian Open was the 1000th of his ATP Tour career
- He is looking for his 6th Italian Open title, and is the favorite vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
- The match goes May 15 at 10am ET – sroll down for analysis and predictions
It took Novak Djokovic 15 years or so to get to 1,000 career ATP Tour wins, only the fifth man in history to accomplish that feat.
On Sunday in the Italian Open singles final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, he looks for win No. 1,001 to start the next thousand.
To do that, he has to take care of a familiar foe in Stefanos Tsitsipas – a player he’s faced in the last two French Opens – and also defeated (barely) in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open a year ago.
Djokovic vs Tsitsipas Odds
| Novak Djokovic (SRB)||-2.5 (-130)||-136||O 22.5 (-108)|
| Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)||+2.5 (+100)||+110||U 22.5 (-115)|
Odds as of May 14 at Barstool Sportsbook
Djokovic Victory Over Ruud Not Straightforward
Djokovic began his semifinal match against No. 5 seed Casper Ruud on fire. But then things got complicated.
A fire alarm went off when Djokovic was way up in the first set, and all of a sudden, it got close.
1000th career win ✅
Rome Finals ✅
One and only.
Novak Djokovic! 🇷🇸❤️🏆#NoleFam #Djokovic #IBI22 pic.twitter.com/v0rD8cIitQ
— Wolfy (@BigBadWolfWolfy) May 14, 2022
In the second set, things were very much on an even keel as Ruud found his bearings. But when the business end of the set arrived, Djokovic lifted his level just enough to take care of a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
It took an hour and 42 minutes, so it wasn’t a walk in the park.
Djokovic only faced one break point. And according to the ATP Tour stats, he went 13-for-17 at the net.
Djokovic vs Tsitsipas Head-to-Head
|34 (May 22, 1987)||Age||23 (Aug. 12, 1998)|
|Belgrade, Serbia||Birthplace||Athens, Greece|
|86||Career ATP Singles Titles||8|
|No. 1 (July 4, 2011)||Career High Ranking||No. 3 (Aug. 7, 2021)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 5|
|$155,254,916||Career Prize Money||$18,772,374|
|11-4||2022 Won/Loss record||31-9|
|6||Career Head to Head||2|
Tsitsipas Beats Familiar Foe in Zverev
Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas is quietly putting together a decent leadup to the French Open, where he was the runner-up a year ago.
A week after losing to Alexander Zverev in the semifinals of Madrid, he turned the tables on him Saturday afternoon and posted a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 comeback win – his eighth win in 12 matches against his longtime rival.
Alexander #Zverev: “I got a little bit tired, to be honest. I played the final Madrid. Played long matches here. I mean, I’m not a machine. I’m a human being. This is normal”.#tennis #ATP #IBI22https://t.co/fZWyAB2COO
— Ukrainian Tennis 🎾 ENG (@ukrtennis_eng) May 14, 2022
His reward is a date with Djokovic in the Sunday’s final. It’s the fourth time they’ve played in a final and the fourth consecutive time they’re meeting on the red clay.
Djokovic vs Tsitsipas Match History
|2021||French Open (F)||Outdoor Clay||6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2021||Rome Masters (QF)||Outdoor Clay||4-6, 7-5, 7-5||Djokovic|
|2020||French Open (SF)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1||Djokovic|
|2020||Dubai (F)||Outdoor Hard||6-3, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2019||Paris Masters (QF)||Indoor Hard||6-1, 6-2||Djokovic|
|2019||Shanghai Mastres (QF)||Outdoor Hard||3-6, 7-5, 6-3||Tsitsipas|
|2019||Madrid Masters (F)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2018||Masters Canada (R16)||Outdoor Hard||6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3||Tsitsipas|
Djokovic vs Tsitsipas One-Sided, but Dramatic
Djokovic’s career head-to-head against Tsitsipas is an impressive 6-2. And he has won the last five.
But it’s a legitimate rivalry in the sense that their last three meetings – all on clay – have been absolute box-office.
In the 2020 edition of the French Open, Djokovic won the first two sets, lost the next two before finally winning it in the fifth.
In Rome a year ago, Djokovic lost the first set and squeezed out a victory.
And in the French Open final last year, Tsitsipas won the first two sets before Djokovic took the long way home and won it in five sets.
It was the closest Tsitsipas has come to pulling off his first major title. And he was helped by Djokovic eliminating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. But it wasn’t to be.
Fast forward a year, and neither is likely playing as well as he was a year ago. But Djokovic, who has played little in 2022 because of his unvaccinated status, is rounding into form just in time.
And Tsitsipas has quietly put together a 14-2 record during this clay-court season and a title at Monte Carlo.
Tsitsipas Has a Chance
Djokovic has accomplished two things this week in Rome. He assured the No. 1 ranking with his quarterfinal win. And he posted that 1,000 career ATP Tour victory.
His job is done, in a sense, But he’ll want that title.
Tsitsipas has proven a worthy adversary. And he’s experienced enough not to be awed by the occasion.
You get the sense it’ll be a long one – if not a three-setter, then at least two extended sets.
Best Bet: Over 2.5 sets (+143)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.