Monday, May 21, 2012

Rafa reigns in Rome

Nadal completes straight sets win in rain-delayed final



Rafa Nadal won the Rome Masters for a sixth time with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Novak Djokovic on Monday.
The Spaniard completed his preparations for another tilt at the French Open starting next Monday by defeating the world number one in a second successive final.
The win also takes Nadal back to second in the world rankings, ahead of Roger Federer.
The turning point came late in the opening set when Nadal, trailing 4-5, reeled off the next three games to move ahead and then surged into a 2-0 lead in the next.
Djokovic, who sent down an uncharacteristic 41 unforced errors in the match, was unable to retrieve the early break and handed Nadal the match by double faulting away a second service game.
It means the world number one is winless on clay this year heading to Roland Garros, while Nadal's only loss came on the unfavourable blue surface in Madrid.

First blood

The final was delayed by 24 hours after rain scuppered Sunday's schedule conclusion but Nadal went immediately on the attack, carving out two break points in Djokovic's opening service game only for the Serb's defences to dig him out of trouble.
The Spaniard did draw first blood when he punished a dreadful Djokovic drop shot in the fifth game to move ahead but he immediately handed the service break back with a lacklustre game culminating in a forehand error.
Djokovic briefly switched up a gear and began to dominate the rallies but was broken again at 5-5 after a volleying exchange and Nadal served out a 76-minute opener.
Nadal made it five games in a row when he moved 2-0 ahead in the second set and although Djokovic hung on grimly, threatening to break back in the fourth game only to mess up an easy smash, he stayed in control.
Two bad bounces and a double-fault on match point helped Nadal close it out in two hours and 20 minutes and improve his career head-to-head record over the Serb to 18-14.

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