Rome – final

(2)Rafael Nadal d. (1)Novak Djokovic
7
-5, 6-3                                    [ 2:20 h ]
Last year due to persistent rain their Roman final was delayed over three hours. It had seemed that this year it would have been delayed an hour longer but the officials at 8 p.m. decided to reschedule on Monday the final between the two best players in the world. The Italian crowd showed its disapproval automatically throwing plastic bottles onto the court covering it in all corners. The next day there was peacefully, albeit the stadium wasn’t fully packed because of the early match start (noon). The current Nadal-Djokovic matches remind me of battles between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, and the Nadal-Federer rivalry as well. There’s some kind of synergy between the best players when they face each other, they know that their standard 100% of focus and commitment couldn’t be enough, so they try to give additional 10% which produces breathtaking rallies from start to finish… Nadal had been losing to Djokovic everywhere through 10 months, so obviously he – along with his team – had to find some medicine for all his problems, and I suppose he has found it: he needs to run more around his right side to play inside-out forehands with bigger frequency, obviously it opens more space on his left side, but Djokovic’s forehand DTL is relatively his weakest stroke, thus counter-attacks aren’t easy for him, especially if Nadal makes blistering forehand strokes… There was an exchange of breaks in the middle of the 1st set. Djokovic led 5:4* (30-all) – he was dictating the rally, and perhaps could have finished it with another stroke when the linesman  called ‘out’ Djokovic’s good ball – the Serb caught his head in disbelief. The point was replayed which benefited Nadal, whose determination allowed him to win two consecutive points. In the following game at ‘deuce’ Nadal grabbed two amazingly important points: first he pushed himself to an extreme effort in defense (31-stroke rally), then won a short-circuit at the net with a backhand volley – Djokovic tried to hide his frustration immediately, but broke his racquet on the net-post a few seconds later (he led 40/15 in that game). He lost quickly another two games, it was a 4-game streak for Nadal, so the Serb was theoretically in a good position to break back, although wasted a 40/0 lead in the 2nd game of the 2nd set – Nadal fought off those break points, and another one, with a bunch of powerful serves and forehands. It was the vital point of this final. Djokovic had two more break points in the 4th game but couldn’t capitalize and trying to stay in the match was broken for the third and last time that day, committing a double fault in the end. “I am happy that I won in Rome without losing a set against the best players in the world like Berdych and Ferrer and Djokovic. I will have this trophy in my bedroom. It is a dream. [I have] the confidence I am playing well and this comes when I play at the right level. Hopefully I will keep playing like this.” said the King of Clay, he has collected 49 titles, and once again becomes the leader in terms of number of ‘Masters 1000’ titles – twenty-one (six in Rome).

Doubles final:
M.Granollers/M.Lopez d. L.Kubot/J.Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-2

 # The most ‘1000’ titles in one tournament (since 1990):
8 – Rafael Nadal (Monte Carlo 2005-2012)
6 – Andre Agassi (Miami 1990-2003); Nadal (Rome 2005-2012)
4 – Boris Becker (Stockholm/Stuttgart),  Roger Federer (Indian Wells, Hamburg & Cincinnati)
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