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Nadal beaten by Djokovic in Rome final

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 19, 2014

Rome

Rome

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TENNIS

Novak Djokovic handed world number one Rafael Nadal a rare defeat on clay, a week ahead of the French Open, as he won the men's singles title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia yesterday.

He had to come from a set down to do so, but produced two sets of high-quality tennis to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in two hours, 19 minutes.

Serena Williams earlier won the women's title in a final ruined by injury to her opponent Sara Errani.

Nadal drew first blood in the men's final when he broke in game three and, after consolidating his advantage, he extended it to 4-1 in Djokovic's next service game.

The Serb responded by smashing his racquet and though he channelled his frustration in a more positive way and got the first break back in the next game, Nadal was still left serving for the set at 5-4.

Djokovic won the first point after a superb rally, but was deceived by Nadal's next serve, before the Spanish player moved ahead with a tremendous forehand winner down the line and went on to win the game and the set.

Djokovic broke at the first time of asking in the second set, clinching the game with a blistering forehand.

And though he was sloppily broken back while serving at 3-1 up, the world number two produced an otherwise faultless set which he won 6-3 to force a decider.

He kept his momentum with an early break but Nadal recovered to level the set at 3-3, with both players stepping up the quality as the match progressed.

It was Djokovic, though, who found an extra gear as he broke again to lead 4-3 and then turned the screw, his third break of the set and sixth of the match securing victory.

Djokovic hit 46 winners to Nadal's 15 and won 72 per cent of points on his first serve as opposed to 54 for the Spaniard. It was Djokovic's 19th ATP Masters title and his fifth in the last six such events.

Djokovic, speaking in Italian at the on-court presentation, said: ''It's a special moment to win this tournament.

"I want to thank my team who are always close to me and give me tons of support throughout my career.

"None of this would be possible without them.

"I've really appreciated the chance to play here over the years and this final was an incredible challenge."

Earlier, Errani had recovered from a break down to bring the first set back on serve against Williams, but required lengthy off-court treatment on her left hip and thigh.

Upon the resumption, Williams won seven straight games to comfortably seal the title 6-3 6-0 after 72 minutes of tennis.

Williams opened up a 3-0 lead before Errani got on the board in the next game and forced a break point in the fifth, Williams producing an ace before holding serve.

Errani broke back in the seventh game to trail only 4-3 – but Williams immediately responded in kind and, after Errani's injury time-out, went on to serve out the set.

The Italian was clearly limited by the injury to her left thigh as Williams powered through the second set.

Errani was connecting with an occasional big shot but was having to go for too much and was unable to chase down Williams' increasingly carefully-placed shots.

It was Williams' third WTA Tour title of the season and the 60th of her career but she used the presentation to pay tribute to her stricken opponent.

Also addressing the crown mostly in Italian, she said: "I'm really sorry for Sara because she's played so well all week. I wish her good luck at Roland Garros.

"I'm really happy about today... I'd like to say this next bit in English... I would like to say thank you to my coach Patrick, and Sasha and Esther for keeping my body together and thanks to everybody."

Errani said: "I really want to compliment Serena on the way she's played during the week and she's certainly one of the best in the world, if not the best in the world.

"It's crazy for me that I got to the final this year. I never expected to manage to play such good tennis. I'm really sorry about today, but hopefully next year I'll do better."

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