Rome, May 20: Defending champion Rafael Nadal defeated world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final to win a ninth Italian Open title and a record 34th Masters crown.
Nadal got off to a flying start by dominating Djokovic in the opening set. It was the first time there has been a 6-0 set during a meeting between the two rivals on Sunday. 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.
The fightback was brief as the 31-year-old Djokovic dropped his serve immediately in the third set, smashing his racket in frustration. 'For me it’s always an honour to be here, I still remember my first time here in 2005.To have the chance to come back and win this trophy after so many years means everything. It wasn’t an easy week for me', ,” said Nadal, who will be chasing a record extending 12th French Open title starting May 26.
After three semi-final defeats in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal has returned to his best form ahead of Roland Garros and lifted his first title of the season. It was Nadal's 81st tournament win and it takes him 34-33 ahead of Djokovic in Masters 1,000 Series titles. (UNI)