Novak Djokovic continues his bid for a return at the top of the world rankings on Sunday when the second-ranked player outlasted top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the final of the Rome Masters 2014 in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. The final lasted two hours and 20 minutes.
This is Djokovic’s third Rome Masters title after victories in 2008, 2011 and this year. He denied Nadal his bid for an eighth title at Foro Italico. This is Djokovic’s 19th career Masters 1000 title.
“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” said Djokovic after the match. “Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.
“Experience helped me stay calm and play the right shots at the right time.”
Djokovic improved his head to head series record against Nadal at 19-22. He has now won their past four meetings. He goes home with €549,000 in prize money plus 1,000 ranking points. Nadal received €269,150 and 600 ranking points.
“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines,” said Nadal. “I think this week is important for me. I won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged than how I felt a few weeks ago.?”
In doubles, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic secured their 27th team title on Sunday after defeating Robin Haase and Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6. This is their second consecutive Masters 1000 title this season after winning the Madrid Masters a week ago.