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King of clay - Rafael Nadal recaptured Rome, as he re-affirmed his status as the 'man to beat' on clay by beating World No.1 and arch-rival Novak Djokovic in two sets. The win lifts him to second in the ranking charts. The Spaniard played a patient and precision-oriented game committing only 21 unforced errors compared to Djokovic's 41. Djokovic's play was erratic which will disappoint the Serb.
Nadal started the match dominantly and was quickly rewarded for attacking the Djokovic serve as he broke the serb in only the fifth game of the match. The Spaniard however, was unable to consolidate that break of serve as the Serb came clawing back to break back immediately to level the set at 3-3. From then on in, the Serb seemed to be advancing as Nadal dug deep every service game to prevent Djokovic from breaking.
The tables however turned with the match tantalizingly poised at 5-5, 30-30. An umpiring call to replay a point when Nole seemed to have it, angered the Serb. He clearly showed his disapproval and that moment served as a potential turning point with Djokovic losing the game to two unforced errors. On serve, Novak leading the next game 40-15, couldn't close it as Nadal capitalized on some needless errors from Djokovic. The tide had turned and Nadal took the first set 7-5.
In the second set, Djokovic still reeling from the debacle of the previous set, lost his first service game to Nadal who seemed focussed and willing to close out the match as soon as possible. Nadal was truly in the ascendancy as he held on to his serve easily in the following game.
In the fourth game of the second set then, Djokovic seemed to have gained some focus back and and attacked Nadal to force three break points, Nadal responded in typical fashion to ward off the Serb yet again. The World No.1 could not threaten the Spaniard beyond that, and lost composure again, constantly berating himself and making unforced errors. Nadal finally closed out the match in just under two and a half hours to win his sixth ATP Rome Masters title.
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