Rafael Nadal proved that he would still be the man to beat when the French Open begins later this month after he humbled Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Italian Open final on Sunday to win a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title.
The Spaniard, who had shared the record of 33 Masters titles with the Serbian world number one, warmed up for the defence of his Roland Garros crown by securing his ninth Rome title.
Nadal got off to a flying start by whitewashing Djokovic in the opening set. It was the first time there has been a 6-0 set during a meeting between the two rivals.
Djokovic took the second by breaking Nadal’s serve for the first time while leading 5-4, but the second seed responded in style by storming through the decisive set.
When Nadal’s previous three claycourt tournaments had ended in semi-final defeats, it no doubt gave his rivals hope that his long reign at Roland Garros could be coming to an end this year.