Italian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Alexander Zverev to win Rome title for an eighth time
Rafael Nadal survived a shocking fightback from Alexander Zverev to win a file eighth Italian Open.
Nadal cruised to the primary set earlier than defending champion Zverev received 9 of the following 11 video games to take the second set 6-1 and lead 3-1 within the decider.
However the Spaniard turned the match round following a prolonged rain delay and closed out a 6-1 1-6 6-Three victory.
The win will see Nadal regain the world primary rating earlier than the French Open which begins subsequent Sunday.
Roger Federer had regained high spot within the rankings when Nadal misplaced to Dominic Thiem on the Madrid Masters final week, his solely defeat on clay this season.
Nadal has now received three clay-court titles from 4 tournaments within the lead-up to his bid for an 11th Roland Garros title in Paris.
Nadal cruised to the primary set in simply 32 minutes and had regarded heading in the right direction for a routine victory towards in-form Zverev, who had received 14 matches in a row and 30 matches in complete this season – greater than every other participant.
However the 31-year-old made plenty of uncharacteristic errors within the second set whereas world quantity three Zverev upped his recreation to stage at 1-1.
The German, 21, broke Nadal’s serve within the opening recreation of the deciding set and maintained that break to steer 3-1 going into an 11-minute rain delay.
Nadal received the sport after the gamers returned just for play to be halted by a second, longer rain delay, after which he received 4 video games in a row to clinch the match.
The win is Nadal’s 78th ATP Tour title and takes him away from John McEnroe into fourth place within the checklist of most males’s titles received within the Open period.
It additionally extends Nadal’s spectacular file in Rome the place he has received the title greater than every other participant with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic second on 4 titles.
|Most titles within the Open period|
Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent
Zverev was simply three video games away from a primary win over Nadal – and a massively important one, on clay, so near the French Open – when rain dragged the gamers off courtroom.
Nadal barely put a foot unsuitable on the resumption, profitable 5 video games in a row to ensure he would be the world primary in addition to the highest seed at Roland Garros.
However make no mistake, Nadal was critically rattled by the best way Zverev performed – the German received 9 video games out of 11 from the beginning of the second set.
Nadal adopted his customary deep returning place, and at instances was dominated by the German’s huge serve and crisp, flat, ball placing.
They would be the high two seeds at Roland Garros, and will effectively meet within the ultimate in Paris.
First, although, Zverev should survive the primary 4 rounds, one thing he’s but to realize at any Grand Slam.