The Spanish won 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 49 minutes. With his victory, he equaled a Serbian record as the top Masters 1000 winner.
Rafael Nadal won his tenth title at the 1,000 Masters in Rome this Sunday, beating Novak Djokovic, number one in the ranking and defending champion, 7-5, 1-6, and 6-3 in two hours and 49 minutes. The Spaniard, third in the ATP, equaled the Serbian's 36 wins in the 1,000 Masters and sealed his second title of the year, after winning in Barcelona, by winning for the 28th time in 57 matches with Nole.
The central court of the Foro Italico, which was attended by 2,917 fans, slightly less than 25% of the total capacity, hosted the biggest classic in modern tennis, the 57th edition of the duel between Nadal and Djokovic. The Mallorcan and the Belgrade player met for the first time this year, after meeting for the last time in the Roland Garros final when Rafa won his thirteenth Parisian title. A verdict was repeated on Roman clay after another battle of tremendous intensity.
This Sunday, the number 1 in the ATP ranking started better, which spent four hours and 56 minutes on the track on Saturday, when he had to win his quarterfinal and semifinal duel against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and Italian Lorenzo Sonego. The Serbian escaped 2-0, but Nadal immediately returned the break.
Both players pushed themselves to the limit. Rafa, in a race, slipped again on a line and fell to the ground, something that already happened to him in the second round against German Alexander Zverev. "We're going to kill each other here," said the man from Manacor, who had a striking wound on one leg, annoyed. Despite that, he was calmer and more lucid than Djokovic and managed to win a very even first set thanks to a run of three consecutive games, from 4-5 to 7-5, to get a relevant use after one hour and fifteen minutes.
For his part, Djokovic was visibly annoyed and shouted at his coaches but managed to radically change his attitude in the second set. With two breaks in the fourth and sixth, restored equality with a resounding 6-1 in 44 minutes.
The rhythm and competitive intensity soared again in the third set, level until 2-2 when the key moment of the duel arrived. Nadal needed to save two break balls, one of them with a spectacular backhand, and won the game with a great forehand, celebrated in style with a "come on."
The Spaniard knew how much that point weighed. He increased his level vertically until he broke the Serbian's serve in the next game to escape 4-2. You had his first match ball with a 5-2 and served by Djokovic, but he sealed his victory with a 6-3 serve crowned him for the tenth time in Rome, 16 years after his first epic win in 2005 against Argentine Guillermo Coria.