Nadal Beats Djokovic To Win 6th Italian Open

Regains No.2 ranking ROME (AP) -- Rafael Nadal showed he's still the man to beat on clay, defeating Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 Monday in a rain-delayed final to win his record sixth Italian Open and regain the No. 2 ranking. After losing to Djokovic in seven straight finals -- including Rome last year -- Nadal has now won two straight against the top-ranked Serb after also capturing the Monte Carlo Masters on clay. Nadal also moved ahead of Roger Federer in the rankings with the French Open starting Sunday. "I don't think I played that well. I can do better," Nadal said. "When you are not serving 100 per cent perfect then you are in trouble because he returns hard. I am trying to play more aggressive and I am hitting the ball better than last year." Djokovic, drained in Monte Carlo after the death of his grandfather, made 41 unforced errors in this match. His double-fault on the last point gave Nadal his 49th career title and his 35th on clay. Nadal did not drop a set all tournament to clinch his third Italian Open victory in four years, with his winning streak interrupted last year by Djokovic. Monday's match was the first time the same players competed in back-to-back finals since the tournament began in 1930. "He is always the favourite even if I win against him seven times," Djokovic said. "He is the best player in the world on this surface and the two wins I had gave me confidence and I think that the match today was quite close even if he won in straight sets.


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