Nadal, who had won his first Italian Open title at the age of 18, took two hours and nine minutes on Sunday, May 20, to defeat Zverev, who initially built up a 3-1 advantage in the decider. Rafael Nadal, who has recently won Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open championship, was the top seed in the tournament and the win constitutes his 32nd ATP World Tour Masters 1,000 title, the 78th trophy of his career and 56th trophy on the clay court.
With this win, the tennis ace will regain the top spot in the ATP rankings to be released on Monday, May 21. Just a week back, the Swiss star Roger Federer became World No. 1 but the tennis ace has decided to skip the clay season for the second year in a row.
“My first victory here in 2005 was one of the most beautiful victories of my career. To have this trophy again with me after so many years is really very special,” said Nadal after winning his eighth title in Rome, and his first since 2013.
After losing the match, Zverav said, “You’re the greatest clay court player of all time and I think everybody saw that today.”
Meanwhile, in women’s singles, Elina Svitolina overpowered Romania’s Simona Halep in the Italian Open final, successfully defending the title and beating the top seed 6-0, 6-4. Svitolina, World No. 4, needed 67 minutes to defeat the current World No. 1, earning her 12th career title and her third this season following her successes in Brisbane and Dubai.
This was the second year in a row that Svitolina bested Halep in Rome, after winning the 2017 final 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. This was also the third time Svitolina successfully defended a title, following her back-to-back wins in the Baku Cup (2012, 2013) and the Dubai Tennis Championships (2017, 2018).
Halep seemed out for revenge heading into her championship rematch with Svitolina, after emerging victorious in the previous round from her nearly 150-minute battle against Russia’s Maria Sharapova. Halep’s hopes quickly crumbled, however, as it took a confident Svitolina only nine minutes to grab a 3-0 lead after a dominant showing, which included breaking the Romanian’s serve twice.
Halep tried to rally back, but both her forehand and backhand let her down as she lost the following three games. During the 19-minute first set, Halep committed 11 unforced errors and won only 15 percent of the first serve points. Although Halep turned up the heat in the second set, she was unable to stop Svitolina from sealing the win.
(With Inputs from IANS)