| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: Simon Bruty/USTA

 

Novak Djokovic passed Rafael Nadal for first on the all-time ATP Masters 1000 titles list after winning the Rome Masters on Monday. The top-ranked Serb defeated Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to win the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

“It was a great week,” said Djokovic. “A very challenging week. 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 the most in the decisive moments today.”

Djokovic now has 36 Masters titles, one more than Rafael Nadal.

“That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed,” Djokovic added. “Turning to Paris, I couldn’t ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and super pleased with it.”

Earlier in the day, Simona Halep captured her first title in Rome as she led defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 2-1 when the Czech was forced to retire with a left thigh injury.

“I’ve finally won it,” said Halep. “I love this tournament, and I play well here almost every year—besides last year, of course. I started my rise up the rankings at this tournament in 2013, so I’ve always dreamed of having this title. I’m really happy that it happened today.”

Halep now owns 22 career WTA titles.