Imperious Nadal blows away Djokovic to land ninth Rome title

ROME: Rafael Nadal proved that he would nonetheless be the person to beat when the French Open begins later this month after he humbled Novak Djokovic 6-Zero 4-6 6-1 within the Italian Open remaining on Sunday to win a report 34th ATP Masters 1000 title.

The Spaniard, who had shared the report of 33 Masters titles with the Serbian world primary, warmed up for the defence of his Roland Garros crown by securing his ninth Rome title.

Nadal bought off to a flying begin by whitewashing Djokovic within the opening set. It was the primary time there was a 6-Zero set throughout a gathering between the 2 rivals.

Djokovic took the second by breaking Nadal’s serve for the primary time whereas main 5-4, however the second seed responded in type by storming by the decisive set.

When Nadal’s earlier three claycourt tournaments had led to semi-final defeats, it little question gave his rivals hope that his lengthy reign at Roland Garros could possibly be coming to an finish this 12 months.

Nonetheless, the way in which he demolished the world’s high ranked participant within the opening and third units on Sunday would have as soon as once more struck concern into any of these challengers who had been harbouring hopes of lifting the Musketeers’ Cup on June 9.

The Spaniard heads into Roland Garros in high type after seeing his serve damaged simply twice en path to claiming his first title of 2019 in his 50th Masters remaining.

“For me it’s at all times an honour to be right here, I nonetheless keep in mind my first time right here in 2005,” mentioned Nadal, who will probably be chasing a report extending 12th French Open title when the claycourt main begins on Might 26.

“To have the possibility to return again and win this trophy after so a few years means every thing. It wasn’t a simple week for me.”

The 32-year-old left Djokovic in a daze as he stormed by the opening set in 39 blistering minutes.

The highest seed fought again within the second as he saved 4 break factors earlier than successful the decisive recreation on Nadal’s serve to take the set 6-4.

However the Serb, who had survived three-set battles towards Argentines Juan Martin del Potro and Diego Schwartzman to achieve the ultimate, pale within the remaining set as he dropped his opening service recreation earlier than Nadal surged clear.

“I’m actually glad that I managed to get into the third set, contemplating the primary set the place I used to be blown away from the court docket,” Djokovic mentioned.

“Clearly third set was not a lot totally different from the primary. I used to be simply working out of gas just a little bit right this moment. Simply form of missed that half a step, particularly on the backhand facet.

“He used it very properly. He’s been enjoying some terrific tennis all through the complete week. He was simply too sturdy right this moment.”

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