Andy Murray continued his impressive build up to the French Open with a straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters.
Just a week after Djokovic beat him in the final of the
Madrid Open, the Scot gained his revenge over the world No.1 in another
claycourt final with a superb 6-3 6-3 victory in one hour and 35
Djokovic was not at his best and in a grumpy mood,
complaining on several occasions to the umpire about the slippery court
surface on a damp day at the Foro Italico.
Yet the defeat, just
his third of the entire season, could not be totally put down to hints
of weariness from Djokovic after a tough week's work as he told Murray
afterwards: "Well done Andy, you were just too good."
It was an
emphatic triumph, after finishing runner-up in Madrid and making the
semi-finals in Monte Carlo, to convince Murray that he now must have his
best shot yet at winning the French Open, which begins next weekend.
the week that Murray announced an amicable split from coach Amelie
Mauresmo, this was only the second time in their last 14 meetings that
he had beaten Djokovic and it was his first victory in their six duels
The light rain in the Italian capital really seemed to
dampen Djokovic's spirit as he complained to the umpire that it was "too
dangerous" to continue but his appeals were brushed aside by the
official, Damian Steiner.
Murray was aggressive from the start,
taking command in the light drizzle, and even when Djokovic appeared to
be fighting back in the second set, Murray saved break points in
successive games to begin imposing himself again.
At the end,
Djokovic capitulated with surprising swiftness, hitting a couple of
errant forehands and a double fault at 3-5 down before Murray conjured
up one inspirational backhand winner from way beyond the tramlines to
lift the title.
No British man had won the Italian title since
Patrick Hughes in 1931 and the triumph will put Murray into the world
No.2 spot on Monday ahead of Roger Federer before the second of the
season's slams starts in Paris.