News24

Nadal wins Rome Masters

2012-05-21 14:49

Rome - Rafael Nadal won his sixth Rome Masters title in a rain-postponed final against Novak Djokovic on Monday, defeating the world No 1, 7-5, 6-3.

It was sweet revenge for a straight sets loss to the Serb in last year's final and the win means that he will move back ahead of Roger Federer at number two in the world rankings.

It was also the perfect preparation for the defence of his French Open title with the tournament due to get underway in Paris on Sunday and takes his career head-to-head with his rival to 18-14 in his own favour.

It meant that Nadal won claycourt titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome with his only loss coming in Madrid where he went down to compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

Djokovic failed to win a claycourt title as he prepares to go into Roland Garros where he is aiming to make it four Grand Slam titles in a row after winning Wimbledon and the US Open crowns last year and the Australian Open early this year.

In a final held over from Sunday because of rain, Nadal immediately pounded out two break points on the opening Djokovic serve, but the Serb saved both with powerful backhands.

There were two more break points for the Spaniard in the fifth game as Djokovic made a mess of an overhead smash and Nadal converted the second of these, easily running down a poorly-executed Djokovic drop-shot.

But just as Nadal seemed to be taking command, Djokovic earned his first break point of the match in the following game which he took as an out-of-position Nadal flopped a forehand into the net.

And two games later he had Nadal back-pedalling again with a series of punishing drives from the baseline only for a bad line-call to rob him of a first set point.

Nadal levelled at 5-5 and then, on the back of some stupendous defending, he grabbed a second break of serve and made good on it by outgunning Djokovic in a thrilling exchange of shots at the net.

Still riled by the line-call, Djokovic smashed his racquet at the exchange of ends and was warned by the umpire before Nadal comfortably served out to pocket the first set in 76 minutes.

Nadal took up in the second set where he had left off in the first and he had the Serb scrambling from side to side in a failed attempt to prevent the five-times champion from grabbing an early break.

Djokovic had an immediate chance to get back on level terms in the set but he failed to capitilise on four break points in the next game allowing Nadal to move 2-0 ahead.

The defending champion stopped the rot by holding serve to make it 2-1 and he had two break-back opportunities in the next game only to squander both with unforced errors.

He was made to pay the price for those missed opportunities as Nadal slammed shut the door on his following serves and then broke again to become the first player to win six Rome titles.

AFP

Comments
  • Pagel - 2012-05-21 14:57

    Where's the blue clay lovers calling him a loser? King of (proper) clay. Bottomline - give him a proper clay surface and he is close on unstoppable. Watched the game - very well played Nadal (although Djokovic not at his best).

      lownabester - 2012-05-21 15:07

      The smurf clay!!!!! Rafa only play the real thing. Vamossssssssssssssssss, Well done Tio Tony, Mayo, Carlos Costa, His Dad, Mom and girlfriend Xisca.

  • lownabester - 2012-05-21 15:05

    Nadal stands tall on red-soil - the Spaniard re-affirmed his supremacy on his favourite hunting surface and handled the top-seed and defending champion Djokovic - very well. This win will reinstate Nadal on No. 2 position in the ATP Ranking...s and further bolstered his confidence - going into Roland Garros. Nadal won this contest in 2 hours and 20 minutes by playing a patient and precision-oriented game. The Spaniard committed only 21 unforced errors as compared to Djokovic's 41 - which made all the difference in deciding the outcome of this title match.

  • RockChick - 2012-05-21 15:20

    Sad for Novak - he is a great player... So is Nadal.

  • zingolucious - 2012-05-21 15:24

    Nadal is the best n back on winning ways.Djokovic upset to Nadal last year was horrific.

  • Msika - 2012-05-21 15:47

    Hoooray!! Hail to the king of clay. Now, you must do the same at roland garros, and kick that little serb's ass.

  • wayne.vanstraaten - 2012-05-21 17:38

    Mooi gespeel Rafa. Sort die vloekerkie uit. Hyt geen maniere..

  • Lucky Prince Masoeu - 2012-05-21 21:32

    The King IS Back!

      lownabester - 2012-05-21 21:55

      Rafa will always be the King of Clay, Going into RG as ranked no.2. Join our facebook group all Rafa lovers.

  • Lucky Prince Masoeu - 2012-05-21 21:34

    If he wins all the red clay tournament except for the blue one in Madrid then that should tell us something obviously

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