ROME - Germany's Alexander Zverev stunned four-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to win his first Masters title on Sunday, confirming his status as a French Open dangerman.

The 20-year-old Zverev claimed his maiden Masters 1000 title after becoming the youngest player in a decade to reach a final at this level and will move to 10 in the world as a result of his impressive victory. Djokovic, who turns 30 on Monday, was the previous youngest Masters finalist, going all the way to the title in Miami as a 19-year-old in 2007.

But despite a clinical straight sets win over Austrian Dominic Thiem on Saturday, world number two Djokovic produced a flawed performance on centre court that saw him curse and swear as he struggled to find a way back into the match. Overall, Djokovic had 27 unforced errors to 14 for Zverev, who also had 16 winners to the Serb's 11.

Zverev now has four career titles, three of which have come this year while Djokovic was denied what would have been a record 31st Masters title. "Playing against Novak, one of the best players to ever play -- it was an honour being on the court with you," said Zverev, the first player born in the 1990s to win a Masters title. "You're an amazing player. Unfortunately this week you didn't win, but I'm sure as we get closer to Paris you'll be one of the favourites for the title."

Zverev broke in the first game of the final on his way to the first set and carved out the crucial first break of the second set in the third game. Djokovic's frustrations boiled over when he was handed a warning for an audible obscenity in the eighth game before he was broken again in the ninth as Zverev celebrated his first Masters title.

"I wish you go on to win many of these titles," Djokovic told the young German. "Yesterday I played what I thought was one of the best matches of my life on clay. Today I played something else. But that's sport." Despite the defeat, Djokovic will start the French Open, which gets underway next Sunday, as one of the leading favourites having completed the career Grand Slam in Paris in 2016.

SLICK SVITOLINA UPSETS HURTING HALEP TO WIN ROME: Ukraine's Elina Svitolina continued her brilliant season with a clinical 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 upset win over injury-hit Simona Halep in the Italian Open final on Sunday.

Svitolina advanced to her maiden Rome final on Saturday when Spanish semi-final opponent Garbine Muguruza, the French Open champion, retired injured as she trailed 4-1 to the big-hitting Ukrainian. But Svitolina, who ousted Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals, showed she was fully deserving of her spot, overcoming a tough first set against the sixth-seeded Romanian to level the match in a fiercely contested second set.

Halep, who won the Madrid Open last week, needed treatment after going over on her right ankle in the second set as she hit a return from the baseline. In the decider, the Romanian -- who had won 26 of her past 30 meetings on clay -- was visibly hurting and was helpless to prevent Svitolina from claiming her fourth title of the season after wins in Taipei, Dubai and Istanbul. Svitolina now has a tour-leading 31 match wins this year and takes over the lead from Pliskova in the Race to Singapore.