Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win Italian Open

New Delhi: Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win a ninth Italian Open title and a record 34rd Masters crown on Sunday. With this win, Nadal overtook Djokovic to the top of the lists for Masters wins.

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.

The Spaniard dominated early with Djokovic losing a set 6-0 for the first time to a player he describes as his “greatest rival”.

But Nadal missed four break chances in the second set, dropping his first set this week after losing serve at 4-5, to throw the Serb a lifeline.

Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win Italian Open
Courtesy: NDTV Sports

The fightback was brief as the 31-year-old Djokovic dropped his serve immediately in the third set, smashing his racket in frustration.

Nadal broke his opponent twice more to seal a third win over Djokovic in their five Rome finals, although the latter still holds a 28-26 career edge.

Nadal, seeded second, was playing his fourth straight semi-final, but had not managed to go further on clay this season.

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