- Rome Masters
Djokovic conquers Nadal to win third Rome Masters title
Novak Djokovic has won the Rome Masters for a third time after he came from a set down to defeat reigning champion Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-3.
In what was the pair's 41st encounter, Djokovic has now won the last four meetings after being beaten by world No.1 Nadal in last year's US Open final.
Djokovic wins the 19th ATP Masters 1000 title of his career by denying Nadal the opportunity to lift an eighth crown in the Italian capital.
Djokovic opened the final by comfortably holding serve for 1-0, but in his second service game he was broken by Nadal following two lengthy rallies in the third game.
Nadal stormed into a 4-1 advantage as a frustrated Djokovic threw his racquet in disgust when walking to his seat for the change of ends.
The Serb, though, began to fight back and reclaimed one of the breaks to close the gap to one at 4-3.
Djokovic had three break points to level at 4-4, but Nadal saved all three and went one game from the set at 5-3. Djokovic put the pressure on Nadal at 5-4, but the latter closed out the set on his serve to take the lead in the final.
Djokovic claimed the first break of the second set with a superb cross-court forehand winner on the run and raced into a 3-0 lead.
Nadal came from 40-0 down in the fifth game to get the break back and make it 3-2, but only after Djokovic had been distracted by a child jumping out of their seat courtside and running around when he was bouncing the ball for a second serve.
However, Djokovic responded in tremendous style to win three of the next four games and take the match into a third and final set.
Djokovic broke Nadal to take a 2-0 lead in the deciding set, but squandered the opportunity to seal a double break as Nadal dug deep to make it 2-1.
Nadal produced a fine backhand winner which flashed past Djokovic at the net to trail 3-2. The Spaniard then levelled the contest at 3-3 after chasing down Djokovic's drop shot.
Once again, Djokovic raised his game to break for a second time and consolidate the advantage at 5-3 with an ace down the middle. The world No.2 soon wrapped up victory by converting his second match point on the Nadal serve.