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Nadal Clinches Record Fourth Rome Title  

2009-05-04 02:29:25|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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May 3, 2009

Internazionali BNL d'Italia

Rome, Italy

 

© Getty Images

Nadal Clinches Record Fourth Rome Title - Kelvin - Kelvin Reigning ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal won a record fourth Internazionali BNL d’Italia title with a hard-fought 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over defending champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament in Rome.

Nadal is rewarded with 1000 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points and ?434,000, while defeat for World No. 3 Djokovic means that he will be surpassed in the Rankings by No. 4 Andy Murray on 11 May when the 2008 Rome points drop off.

The 22-year-old Nadal has now amassed a staggering 15 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 shields - second only (since 1990) to the now-retired Andre Agassi, who holds the record with 17 titles won during his illustrious 20-year career.

Victory marked Nadal’s 30th consecutive clay-court victory, including 16 wins in a row this season; his last loss on the surface came against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Rome second round last year. During the span, he has won 71 of 75 sets and clinched four titles. Since 2005, Nadal has compiled an outstanding 147-4 match record on clay.

The Spaniard is currently seventh on the list of clay-court title leaders with 25 tour-level titles on the crushed brick. He is already over half way to reaching Guillermo Vilas’ Open Era record of 45 triumphs.

In their second ATP World Tour final meeting in three weeks, Nadal was fast out of the blocks – breaking in the first game to stamp his authority early in the pair’s 17th meeting. However, two rare forehand errors from the Mallorcan when he served for the set at 5-4 brought Djokovic back into the set as he levelled at 5-5.

Djokovic failed to capitalise on his momentum and was immediately broken again by Nadal to trail 5-6. But the defending champion refused to relinquish the set without a continued fight and his persistence was rewarded as Nadal miss-hit a forehand to lose serve for the second time.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Nadal raised his level in the tie-break though and as he cut out his errors, Djokovic was unable to maintain his high-level of play and was made to pay the price as a failed drop shot trickled down his own side of the net to grant Nadal a hard-fought one-set lead.

The 21-year-old Djokovic produced more of the top form that saw him defeat Roger Federer in the semi-finals to stay on an even keel with Nadal early in the second set. But the Spaniard’s continued brilliance on the clay proved too hot for Djokovic to handle ultimately and he broke through in the sixth game as Djokovic double faulted under the pressure.

After two hours and three minutes of high-quality action, Nadal closed out his 13th victory over Djokovic with a second break of serve as he flicked a forehand pass up the line past the resigned Djokovic.

Nadal won the Rome title in 2005 and 2006 with epic five-set victories over Guillermo Coria and Roger Federer respectively, before winning his third successive title in the Italian capital with a straight-sets win over Fernando Gonzalez in 2007. He has a 22-1 event match record. Jaroslav Drobny (1950-52), Martin Mulligan (1963, ’65, ’67) and Thomas Muster (1990, ’95-96) are the others who have won three titles in Rome.

Nadal improved to an ATP World Tour-best 38-3 match record on the season after capturing his fifth tour-level title from six finals. He clinched his first hard-court Grand Slam title at the Australian Open with back-to-back five-set victories over Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer before continuing his hard-court success at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (d. Murray).

The left-hander then took his strong form into the European clay-court season, where he won the ATP World Tour Masters Monte-Carlo title (d. Djokovic) and Barcelona crown (d. Ferrer) for the fifth successive year.

Nadal won his 36th tour-level title in his 45th final. He has 25-1 lifetime record in clay-court finals, with his lone loss coming to Roger Federer in the 2007 Hamburg final.

Djokovic was contesting his third consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final after finishing runner-up to Andy Murray in the Miami final and Nadal in Monte-Carlo. The Belgrade native, who will headline the inaugural event in his home town next week, dropped to a 12-9 mark in tour-level finals. His most recent title, and his only one of the season, came in Dubai (l. to Ferrer) in February.

The right-hander captured the Rome title, his last at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, last year with victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the title match. 

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