Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off before his US Open default two weeks ago, winning a fifth Italian Open title on Monday, days before the start of Roland Garros.
The world number one lifted a record 36th Masters crown, one more than great rival Rafael Nadal, after beating Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 in the final at the Foro Italico in Rome.
“Turning to Paris, I couldn’t ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and I’m super pleased,” said Djokovic.
“I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it in the decisive moments.”
Djokovic extended his record to 31 wins from 32 matches this year, with his only loss the US Open disqualification for accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball.
Schwartzman had shocked nine-time tournament winner Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
But he ran out of steam in a final played under light drizzle, having also spent more than three hours on the court in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Despite a great start, with two breaks to lead 3-0, Schwartzman could not keep the momentum going against the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who notched up his fifth win over the Argentinian.
For Djokovic it was a fifth victory in 10 finals in Rome, but the first since 2015, having finished runner-up three times since including last year to Nadal.
“It’s been a good week, even if I haven’t played my best tennis. I’m satisfied,” said Djokovic.