Nadal defeats Djokovic for ninth Rome title

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Nadal beat Djokovic to win a record 34th Masters title in Rome; Getty Images
Rafael Nadal claims his first title of the year after defeating world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final.

Rafael Nadal claimed a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title with a three-set victory over Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final.

The defending champion triumphed 6-0 4-6 6-1 in two hours and 25 minutes in Rome on Sunday.

The Spaniard, who had shared the record of 33 Masters titles with the Serbian world No.1, warmed up for the defence of his French Open crown by securing his ninth Rome title.

QUIZ: Do you know your tennis trophies?

Nadal got off to a flying start by whitewashing a shellshocked Djokovic in the opening set.

Djokovic took the second by breaking Nadal’s serve for the first time while leading 5-4, but the second seed responded in style by storming through the decisive set.

After losing in the semifinals of three straight claycourt tournaments, Nadal admitted this was a big statement ahead of Roland Garros.

“You were asking for titles. Finally I have a title,” Nadal said. “Here we are. Important title, important moment.”

It also marked the first time in an Open Era-record 54 meetings, and in their 142nd set against each other, that Nadal won a set against Djokovic without conceding a game.

“I played a great first set in all aspects. No mistakes. Playing so aggressive, changing directions,” Nadal said.

“It’s not usual and probably will not happen again.”

Djokovic, who coming off the Madrid Open title last week, refused to use fatigue as an excuse.

“Rafa was simply too strong today,” the Serb said.

“I was just running out of fuel a little bit today. Just kind of missed that half a step, especially on the backhand side.”

Share this: 
  • Most popular articles

24 May 2019

Do surface specialists still exist in tennis?

When Novak Djokovic won four Grand Slams in a row from Wimbledon 2015 to Roland Garros 201... More

8 June 2019

‘Nobody plays like Nadal on clay’ – Federe...

It was deja vu for Roger Federer as his return to Roland Garros ended in another claycourt... More

18 June 2019

Cilic, Anderson win in grass returns at Queen’s

Defending champion Marin Cilic has edged his way into the second round at Queen's Club in ... More

8 June 2017

#FantasyTennis Insider: Picking the grass court specialists

The contrast between tennis surfaces isn’t as stark as it was, perhaps, ten years ago. B... More