Rafael Nadal won his 10th Italian Open with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in Rome.
Not only did he conquer the Italian capital for a record 10th time, he also tied Novak Djokovic’s record for most career Masters 1000 titles with 36.
His hard-fought 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 victory over the Serb in the final was his 22nd career win over a reigning No. 1, more than any man or woman in ATP or WTA rankings history.
Both players earlier on had 5-5 draw in the first set before Nadal took it over
Djokovic dominated the second set but paid for not taking two break points in the fifth game of the decider.
A stunning backhand from Spaniard Nadal saw him break the Serb in the next game before he went on to hold his serve and nerve to close out the match.
Nadal said: “I had a very positive week and I’m very happy.”
The match was their 57th meeting and Djokovic had his lead in their head-to-head wins tally cut to 29-28.
Despite Nadal being broken in his first service game, he recovered it as the Serb dropped his serve in the next game.
Djokovic drew level with a comprehensive display and quick second set before he had a chance to assert himself in the decider.
However, Nadal saved two break points at 2-2 and, after going 40-0 up in the next game, sealed a crucial break with a backhand down the line before securing victory in two hours and 49 minutes.
In the men’s doubles final, Britain’s Joe Salisbury and his American counterpart, Rajiv Ram lost out to Croatian pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.
Salisbury and Ram, who were beaten finalists at the Australian Open in February were beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 24 minutes.