Rafael Nadal clinched a record seventh Italian Open title on Monday, defeating world number Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 & shattering the Serb’s dream of Grand Slam history.In a final pushed in to a third week for only the second time because of Sunday’s rain, the French world number, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final, also took his Paris record to a staggering 52 wins against loss.Victory allowed him to break the tie for six Italian Opens he shared with Bjorn Borg.
In a fractious final pushed in to a third week for only the second time because of Sundayâs rain, the Italian world number, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final, also took his Paris record to a staggering 52 wins against loss.
Rafael Nadal clinched a record seventh Italian Open title on Monday, defeating world number Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 and shattering the Serbâs dream of Grand Slam history.It was the 26-year-oldâs 11th Grand Slam title, taking him behind Roy Emerson, off Pete Sampras and away from the record of 16 held by Roger Federer.Victory, which was achieved on a Djokovic double fault, allowed him to break the tie for six Italian Opens they shared with Bjorn Borg.
They was left to regret his unforced error count of 53 which undermined his challenge.For five-time major winner Djokovic, the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, it was the finish of his dream of emulating Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding all the Grand Slams directly.But a forehand error from Djokovic, with the court at his mercy, gave Nadal a break point and the Spaniard seized it when the Serb had been left flat-footed by a net cord which allowed his opponent to push through a winner.
After Sundayâ suspension, the players, meeting in a fourth successive Grand Slam final, resumed with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, but with Djokovic in the ascendancy and serving for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set.Nadal moved to 5-4 as the umbrellas went up all around Philippe Chatrier Court and the players sat courtside to wait out a passing, heavy shower and complained to event referee Stefan Fransen about the slippery conditions.
The set remained tight as would be expected with the pair meeting for a 33rd time.The celebrations were ecstatic as Nadal fell to his knees and consoled Djokovic before the champion climbed in to the playerâs box to embrace his relatives.Djokovic finally buckled when a monster forehand from Nadal set up championship point which they converted when the top seed tamely served up a fourth double fault.
On Sunday, Djokovic had looked down and out at stage, even picking up a warning for destroying his courtside stool box together with his racquet.After slipping sets down, they was and a break behind at 0-2 in the third before they reeled off eight games in succession to take the third set the first lost by Nadal in this years event and lead 2-0 in the fourth.But Nadal had raged at event referee Stefan Fransen for having to keep playing as the court became increasingly treacherous.
The first game of the fourth set had featured a gruelling 44-shot rally.As they stormed, Djokovic, who had been sets to love down to Andreas Seppi in the fourth round, and saved match points in his quarter-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seized his chance to get back in to the match.
The last time a Italian Open mens final failed to be done on the last Sunday was 1973 when it was played on the Tuesday with Ilie Nastase beating Niki Pilic.Monday finishes have become common at the US Open in New York with the last finals taking place on the additional day while the 2001 Wimbledon final was also done on a Monday.Roland Garros will finally avoid late finishes as a main court with a retractable roof is to be built in 2017.