Djokovic Masters Nadal Again, Wins Italian Open Title

Novak Djokovic proved that his first clay-court victory over Rafael Nadal last week was no fluke, beating the world no.1 again on Sunday, 6-4 6-4, to snatch the Italian Open title and extend his unbeaten run this year to 37 matches.

Djokovic, who defeated Nadal for the first time on clay at last week’s Madrid final, thus becomes the first to beat the Spanish world no.1 twice in the same year on his favorite surface. The victory also gives the Serbian world no.2 a big morale boost going into next week’s French Open, where Nadal is the defending champion. Djokovic’s fourth victory in a final this year over Nadal also gives him a chance to move up to number one in the world ranking the week after the French Open.

The Serb has now won his first 37 matches of the year, leaving him just six wins short of erasing John McEnroe’s record 42-0 start to the 1984 season.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova captured her biggest clay-court title yet when she defeated Samantha Stosur, 6-2 6-4, in the women’s final.