May 10, 2016

    Djokovic heads to Rome with 29th Masters title


    NOVAK Djokovic is bound for Rome this week crediting an unscheduled pause in his clay-court season with helping him clinch a record 29th Masters title.

    The world No. 1 defeated long-time rival Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Madrid Masters for a second time.

    Djokovic, 28, was forced to rest after losing his first clay outing of the season, going down in Monte Carlo to Czech Jiri Vesely.

    But he credited the pause with actually helping his game as he decompressed after winning four early-season titles - Doha, the Australian Open and Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

    The world No. 1 captured his fifth trophy of this year as he defeated defending champion Murray for the 12th time in their last t 13 matches to stand at an overwhelming 23-9 in their career head-to-head.

    Djokovic and Murray - born within a week of each other in May, 1987 - first met in Madrid in a 2006 round of 16 when the event was played on hard court.

    Djokovic won it in three sets and began his longstanding rivalry with the Spanish-trained Scot.

    Murray fell to No. 3 in the world in the new rankings yesterday behind Roger Federer after failing to defend his title.

    In Rome, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Federer have been drawn in the same half.