Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the players to beat in Rome four years ago, as many times since 2005. Rafa and Novak arranged their 54th clash, securing their 12th title in the previous 14 Foro Italico editions! Nadal scored 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win to defend the title and become the first player with 34 Masters 1000 crowns.
Rafa neat Novak for the 26th time and the first in a year, lifting his first trophy since Canada the last summer. It was the 50th Masters 1000 final for Nadal, and he dominated sets one and three to overpower Djokovic and extend his incredible run in the Italian capital.
Rafa played against two break points and lost serve once. He created 17 chances in Novak's games and seized six to control the scoreboard and race toward his 81st ATP title, winning at least one for 16 consecutive seasons. At 32, Nadal became the oldest Rome Masters champion and celebrated his 20th win over world no.
1 players. They had a similar number of winners, and Novak sprayed much more errors. His backhand let him down, and his shots selection was miles below his standards. Rafa was much more efficient in the mid-range and most extended rallies.
It was enough to propel him over the finish line and deliver a much-needed title after a challenging period due to injuries. Both players served above 70% in the opening set, although no one could notice that, with Nadal as the only player on the court.
The Spaniard lost three points behind the initial shot, rattling off one good hold after another and keeping the pressure on Novak, who could not match those numbers. Dropping 60% of the points in his games, Djokovic suffered three breaks from nine chances offered to Nadal for the first bagel in their matches ever!
Hitting 12 winners and only four unforced errors, Nadal ruled the court and had a clear advantage in the shortest and most extended rallies to race over the finish line and make the best start to the final. The Serb lost serve in the encounter's first game after a loose forehand.
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2019 Rome Masters final.
Rafa grabbed another return game at 2-0 thanks to a forehand down the line winner, looking better and better on the court. Facing five break points in game five, Djokovic gave serve away after Nadal's backhand down the line bullet.
The Spaniard sealed the opener with a service winner in game six for 6-0 after 38 minutes. After that terrible opener performance, Novak raised the level in set number two. He produced a couple of much-needed easy holds and created a break point in game four.
Rafa fended it off with a powerful forehand down the line winner and kept his serve intact. Standing on the verge of defeat, Djokovic fought off three break points in game seven, remaining on the positive side and repelling another at 4-4 to boost his chances.
Serving to stay in the set in game ten, Nadal wasted a game point and sent a forehand long to hand the break and the set to Novak, who roared toward his team, mighty relieved after this outcome. They both had more winners than unforced errors, and the Serb prevailed in the crucial moments and forced a decider.
Leaving the last set behind him instantly, the Spaniard broke in the third set's first game to restore the order. Nadal missed another break point at 1-1 and forged a 4-1 lead after Djokovic's backhand error in game five. Novak's loose forehand propelled an eight-time champion 5-1 in front, and Rafa sealed the deal with another break in game seven for his first triumph over the Serb in a year.