Widely regarded as the ‘king of clay’, Rafael Nadal defeated Serbian title holder Novak Djokovic to lift the 10th Italian Open title of his career. Asserting his renowned dominance on the clay court, Nadal beat the world number 1 with scores of 7-5, 1-6, and 6-3 after the second set was lost.
After Rafael Nadal won the first set, Djokovic gave a commendable fight to win the second set to keep his hopes alive, making the final extremely interesting in the process. Both of them were witnessed to play with full force in Rome on Sunday.
After equalizing Djokovic’s tally of 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles, Nadal said, “It’s amazing I have this trophy in my hand for a 10th time, it’s something impossible to imagine, but it happened. So I’m super happy and can’t thank my team enough.”
Djokovic and Nadal had played each other eight times at the Foro Italico, dating back to their first encounter in the quarter-finals of the 2007 tournament. The match was easily won by Nadal, but as their rivalry arose, so did the level of competition. In their five meetings in Rome, the Spaniard had a 5-3 advantage, while Djokovic now has the overall ATP Head2Head advantage in their legendary rivalry (29-27).
Djokovic and Nadal have won 14 of the last 16 editions of this ATP Masters 1000 series, and at least one player has appeared in every Rome final since 2005. Nadal has won a total of nine awards, while Djokovic has five.
On the clay court, Nadal has won 459 of 501 matches. When the clay court Grand Slam starts on May 30, Nadal will be aiming for his 14th French Open title. Nadal increased his lead to 19-7 on clay. He had also defeated the Serbian in all five of their previous encounters on clay courts, including the 2019 Rome Masters final and the 2020 Roland Garros final.