Nadal captures record 6th Italian Open trophy

RAFAEL NADAL won a record sixth Italian Open title following a masterful 7-5, 63 win over Novak Djokovic in a rain-delayed final.

It was the 49th career title of Nadal and 34th on clay.

The win also pushed him back to No. 2 in the world ranking, over Roger Federer and just below Djokovic. Nadal won without dropping a set all tournament.

Monday’s match was the first time the same players competed in back-to-back finals since the tournament began in 1930. Djokovic ended Nadal’s reign last year.

Djokovic played well at the start but the turning point came midway through the 10th game when a line judge called the Serbian’s shot out. The umpire overruled the decision, but Nadal won the replayed point and then held his serve to make it 5-5.

Nadal broke in the fifth game of the first set, but Djokovic broke back when the Spaniard netted a forehand. Djokovic appeared in good shape, holding to love. Nadal, meanwhile, was struggling with his first serve.

Then came a long rally that ended with the overturned line call. Had Djokovic won the point, it would have given him two break points. But Nadal held and broke in the next game, drawing Djokovic to the net before sending a sharp volley past him.

Nadal took the first set with the second of three set points after Djokovic hit long. And the Serb was immediately broken again in the second set as Nadal took control. Noli S. Cruz

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