Rafael Nadal beat world number one Novak Djokovic to win a 10th Italian Open title on Sunday, while fellow Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek shut out Karolina Pliskova in just 45 minutes to win the women’s tournament .
Second seed Nadal won 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 in 2h 49m against the defending champion to tie Djokovic’s record of 36 Masters 1000 titles and set a key scorer two weeks from defending his crown at Roland Garros.
“I really wanted this title. It was one of the first major titles I won in my career. I had won 10 in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros and I really wanted this one too, ”said Nadal, 34. .
Polish teenager Swiatek crushed Czech ninth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 to win her first Masters 1000 trophy on red clay at Foro Italico.
“I’m overwhelmed, at the start of this tournament, I wouldn’t have dreamed of winning it,” said Swiatek, moved, who will make his entry into the Top 10 following his race in Rome.
“When I was playing I didn’t even know what the score was,” admitted the 19-year-old.
“When my coach told me it was 6-0, 6-0, I was like, really? Isn’t that a mistake? ”
– Djokovic v Nadal: Chapter 57 –
Djokovic and Nadal faced each other for the 57th time, having last played in the 2020 Roland Garros final which the Spaniard easily won in straight sets.
The duo have won 15 of the last 17 Roman titles between them, while Nadal leads their head-to-head to the final in the Italian capital 4-2.
Despite losing his first service game, Nadal took a break in Game 3 by hitting twice as many winners as the Serbian with 21 in the set.
A form dive in the second set allowed Djokovic, 33, to take a break twice and return to the game.
But Nadal got back on track in third, with Djokovic playing nearly five hours on the pitch on Saturday between his quarter-finals and his rain-delayed semi-finals.
The Spaniard saved two break points on his serve in Game 5 and broke out of love for 4-2.
Djokovic saved a first match point in Game 8, but Nadal made no mistake about his second chance in the aftermath to seal his 88th career title after winning at Barcelona earlier this month.
“I’m disappointed not to win, but happy with my level,” said Djokovic, five-time winner from Rome, who leads their face to face 29-28.
“Entering Paris is a good feeling. I want to feel like I’m on clay. “
The French Open begins in Paris on May 30 where Nadal, 13 times champion, will try to win a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Djokovic, the 2016 Roland Garros champion, hopes to become the first man in more than half a century and just the third in history to win all four majors more than once.
– « Sentiment horrible » –
Previously, 15th-ranked Swiatek won her third WTA title after a victory in Adelaide in January.
She swept the first set in just 20 minutes, giving Pliskova four points, dropping just 13 overall throughout the game.
Pliskova tried to fight in Game 3 of the second set, holding a double break to win Game 3, but the Polish player mercilessly stifled any comeback.
“From the start I felt maybe a little nervous, and I wanted to use it and play as many games with that vibe as possible,” Swiatek said.
“But it’s not easy to win the first set 6-0, because you always have in mind that your opponent can start to play better and they can change their tactics completely, then you have to adjust and you are going to start to worry. “
“I will quickly forget the day today,” said Pliskova, the world number nine, who was playing her third consecutive final in Rome.
The former world number one retired injured in last year’s final as he trailed 6-0, 2-1 against Romania’s Simona Halep.
“I just felt awful there today,” said the 29-year-old, who won 16 WTA titles most recently in Brisbane last year.
© 2021 AFP