Rome Masters 2021: Rafael Nadal survives three-setter Novak Djokovic test to clinch 10th title
Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal is currently ranked world number two and is a record 20-time Grand Slam champion, having won the French Open for a record 13 times. Meanwhile, Serbia's Novak Djokovic is the reigning world number one, who was the defending Rome champion.
Rafael Nadal of Spain yet again trumped on clay as he beat Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters 2021 at the Foro Italico on Sunday. It was an intense three-set win 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, while he clinched his tenth title.
It was their 57th clash on the ATP tour circuit, besides being the ninth in Rome, as Nadal leads 6-3 in the latter, while Djokovic leads 29-28 in the former. The win also helped The Spaniard to win his 36th Masters title, thus equalling the record of most titles with Djokovic, while it was his 88th tour-level title.
The opening set became intense, with the Serbian earning the first break. However, Nadal broke him back and maintained his composure to break again after being tied 5-5 to win the opening set in over an hour.
However, Nadal's lack of intensity allowed Djokovic to bounce back, earning a break to lead 3-1. The Serbian was simply sensational, as he somewhat outplayed the Spaniard in the second set to clinch it 6-1 in 43 minutes, thanks to some of his powerful serves.
Nonetheless, Nadal was back to his best in the final set, hardly giving any room for error to aid the world number one have the upper hand. He was impactful with his classic forehand, as, despite Djokovic showing resilience, Nadal held firm to win his tenth championship.
"It's a very satisfying [victory]. It's amazing [to] have the trophy with me again one more time here in Rome. The 10th, I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. It was one of the first important titles that I won in my career. After achieving 10 in Roland Garros, 10 in Monte-Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one," he said, following his title win.
"I think I have been playing better and better with my forehand the past couple of weeks, getting to the confidence point. [There were] moments I could change more times down the line than what I did... But, the positive thing is the winners and the solutions with my forehand have been much better than the past couple of weeks. That's a huge improvement for me, very important shot. Especially on clay, it gives me confidence," he concluded.
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