Rafael Nadal defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win the Italian Open on Sunday. It was Nadal’s 9th Italian Open title and 34th Master’s title.
Though Djokovic put up a fight in the second set, it was a great win for Nadal. He had a sub-par clay court season until today but he was able to find his game this week and has the momentum going to Roland Garros.
Nadal won a bagel set against every opponent this week except Stefanos Tsitsipas. That tells you about the kind of week Nadal had. And he honestly needed this. In previous tournaments, Nadal left his shots hanging short in the court, giving his opponents an opportunity to finish the points.
Does this make him for the favorite for the French Open?
Not necessarily. He will have hands full with Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas. All of them have a chance but it is hard to see anyone beating Nadal over 5 sets.
Nadal is getting older and this clay-court season has been a struggle for him. But definitely don’t count him out. The King of Clay is still the one to beat.