Novak runner-up in Rome

Second seed and four-time former Internazionali BNL d’Italia titlist Novak Djokovic suffered a 4-6, 3-6 loss to no.16 seed Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open final on Sunday.

Despite his inexperience, Zverev made a fine start and clinched an early break before taking the opening set in fine style. Novak, chasing only his second title of the year, attempted to rally but again suffered a break of serve as 20-year-old Zverev took control of the tie.

Zverev showed no signs of nerves as he approached the winning line, securing his first ATP Masters title with an emphatic display which bodes well for the rest of the year.

Match statistics: aces (1-7), double faults (3-2), winners (11-16), unforced errors (27-14).

Novak was bidding to win his 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.

The Belgrade native failed in the attempt to add a fifth Rome crown to his collection, having lifted the trophy in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015. He dropped to a 20-6 record on the season.

It was Novak’s last tournament ahead of the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Roland Garros, taking place in Paris from May 28 to June 11.

Last year, Novak won his first French Open title and completed the historic career Grand Slam. He outplayed Andy Murray in the epic final (3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4).

Photo: Getty Images

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