Rome – Rafael Nadal won the Rome Masters for the eighth time on Sunday when he defeated defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 after a stunning comeback.
The 31-year-old also showed why he will once again be the runaway favourite when Roland Garros begins in a week where he‘ll be bidding for an 11th French Open title.
“The rain break was so important, I didn‘t think it would help me but it did. I was able to come back out with clear ideas, I‘m very happy,” said Nadal.
“Today this trophy is with me for a short time, but I‘m sure you will get it again.”
Nadal remains the best clay-courter of the Open Era with an astonishing 408-36 record
“You are the greatest clay player of all time, we all saw that. I‘m disappointed that my streak is over, but I did lose to Rafa, so maybe it‘s OK.
But the king of clay quickly mounted a fightback, breaking world number three Zverev to love and going on to deny the German a winning service game in the entire set.
Nadal temporarily stopped the rot as he won his fist game of the set but Zverev levelled the match at a set each a game later.