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Masters of Rome: Rafael Nadal wins 10th title in the Italian capital with a victory over Novak Djokovic |  Tennis News


Rafael Nadal beats his great rival Novak Djokovic in three sets to win the Rome Masters for a tenth record time; The Spaniard will now aim for a 14th Roland Garros crown when the Grand Slam on clay kicks off on May 30

Last updated: 05/16/21 19:47 pm

Rafael Nadal won a record 10th Rome Masters title on Sunday

Rafael Nadal sealed a record 10th Rome Masters title after beating arch rival Novak Djokovic in straight sets in Sunday’s final.

The Spaniard won his 88th career ATP title with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over the world No.1 for a timely boost of confidence ahead of the French Open.

Nadal will be favorites to clinch a 14th title at Roland Garros, which would put him ahead of Roger Federer on the all-time Grand Slam list. The two players are currently tied in 20 major tournaments.

“I’ve been lucky at times, especially against (Denis) Shapovalov,” said Nadal, referring to the round of 16 game he won in a tie-break at the decision-maker.

“And then I think I played a good tournament, I played better and better, finding my rhythm on clay. I have had a very positive week and I am very happy.

“It’s amazing to have this trophy in my hands for the 10th time. It’s something imaginable but it happened so I’m super happy and can’t thank my team enough.”

Masters of Rome: Rafael Nadal wins 10th title in the Italian capital with a victory over Novak Djokovic |  Tennis News

Nadal (right) is just behind Djokovic, who leads his head-to-head record 29-28 before Roland-Garros

After a mid-match swing, Nadal upped the pressure in the decisive moments of his 57th career meeting with the duo’s ninth-place Djokovic in Rome to secure the victory over the defending champion in two hours and 49 minutes.

Nadal paused to move forward 6-5 in a tight first set, then dodged Djokovic to take the lead early in the game.

But Djokovic, who lost heavily to Nadal in their previous meeting in the Roland Garros final last year, leapt to quickly level the game at one set apiece after the Spaniard’s intensity plummeted.

Second-seeded Nadal then saved two break points at 2-2 in the decider, before shifting gears to complete the win and tie Djokovic’s record of 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles.

1. Jimmy Connors – 109

2. Roger Federer – 103

3. Ivan Lendl – 94

4. Rafael Nadal – 88

5. Novak Djokovic – 82

6. John McEnroe – 77

7. Rod Laver – 72 years old

8. Bjorn Borg – 66

9. Ilie Nastase – 64

9. Pete Sampras – 64 years old

Agony for Brit Salisbury

Masters of Rome: Rafael Nadal wins 10th title in the Italian capital with a victory over Novak Djokovic |  Tennis News

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (right) lost in straight sets to Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic

Joe Salisbury and Rajiv Ram failed in the men’s doubles final as they lost in straight sets to Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Britain’s Salisbury, 29, and his American partner Ram, finalists beaten at the Australian Open in February, were beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in Rome by the Croatian second seed in one hour and 24 minutes.

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