Rafael Nadal back to No.1
A lot was at stake for Rafael Nadal – the Spaniard needed to lift his eighth trophy at the Foro Italico to regain the top spot in the ATP Rankings after losing it this week to Roger Federer due to his quarter final loss at the Mutua Madrid Open to Dominic Thiem last week.
Nadal had to beat old time rival Novak Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-3 to reach his 10th Rome Masters final, where he faced defending champion Alexander Zverev who overcame fourth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-6(13) 7-5 in the other semi final.
Zverev, competing in his third continuous final after wins in Munich and Madrid stepped forward with acute aggression to break in the first game, but Nadal rallied back to obtain a 4-1 advantage. The German world No.3 was limited to just 11 points in the first set, but he gained control in the second to break Nadal’s serve twice and evened the scores with a cruel backhand down the line.
Despite trailing by a break in the third set, Rafael Nadal recovered to defeat the 21- year-old German, Alexander Zverev, to battle back and claim an eighth Rome Masters title on Sunday. Zverev was heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6,6-1,3-1 lead when the rain intruded. Alexander and Rafael then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a another disruption of rhythm for Zverev, another rain delay, after which Nadal won four games in a row to clinch the match.
Roger Federer will be downhearted to wake up and find out Rafael Nadal has replaced him as world No.1 after the victory in Rome. Nadal will be heading to his territory next week, Roland Garros in Paris while being everyones favourite to get his hands on the Coupe des Mousqueaires for a record extending eleventh time. However, upsets happen a lot in sport and the neutral tennis lover would certainly hope to see one.