• Djokovic on 22-match win streak after beating Federer in Rome
  • Nadal remains No. 7 headed into French Open, lowest in decade
Novak Djokovic heads to next week’s French Open as the world’s top-ranked male player after he routed Roger Federer in the finals of Rome to extend his win streak this season to 22.

The Serb beat Switzerland’s Federer 6-4, 6-3 at the Foro Italico yesterday for his fifth title of 2015, and his fourth consecutive Rome trophy.

“The fact that I have managed to win so many matches in a row gives me a reason to believe I can do it again,” Djokovic told reporters. “I want to keep it going as long as I can. I don’t want to think fear or everything else can be an obstacle and interrupt this streak.”
Djokovic has yet to win the French Open, which starts next week in Paris.

Nine-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal of Spain remained at No. 7, his lowest ranking in a decade, after he lost to former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in straight sets in the quarterfinals in Rome. Nadal’s seeding means he could face any of the top four players starting in the French Open quarterfinals.
After a long break in the second half of last year because of injury and illness, Spain’s Nadal’s game has yet to recover this season. He enters Roland Garros without a single title on European red clay for the first time in his career.

Federer remained at No. 2, while Britain’s Andy Murray stayed at No. 3. Murray is 10-0 this season on clay, including his first win on the surface against Nadal, in the finals of the Madrid Masters.

Czech Tomas Berdych moved up one spot to a career-high No. 4, while U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan also climbed one place to No. 5. Canada’s Milos Raonic dropped two places to No. 6 after he pulled out of Rome with an ankle injury.

In the women’s game, Maria Sharapova leapfrogged Romania’s Simona Halep to No. 2 after the Russian beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the Rome finals, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 yesterday. Sharapova, the defending French Open champion, needed more than two-and-a-half hours to clinch her 35th career title.
Sharapova’s ranking means she won’t face top-ranked Serena Williams of the U.S. until the French Open finals. Sharapova hasn’t beaten the American since 2004.

Suarez Navarro jumped two places to a career-high No. 8.



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