Novak Djokovic is defeated by Rafael Nadal, who wins his 34th Masters 1000 title.

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Four years ago in Rome, it was Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who had to be defeated, as they had done so frequently since 2005. In their 54th match, Rafa and Novak won their 12th championship in the previous 14 Foro Italico editions! Nadal won with scores of 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to successfully defend his championship and set a record with 34 Masters 1000 victories.

Rafa beat Novak for the 26th time and for the first time in a year, winning his first championship since the summer of 2017 in Canada. In his 50th Masters 1000 final, Nadal defeated Djokovic in straight sets in order to continue his remarkable run in the Italian city.

Rafa lost his serve once after defending against two break points. In Novak’s games, he generated 17 opportunities, and he took advantage of six of them to dominate the scoreboard and head toward his 81st ATP championship while winning one for 16 straight seasons. At age 32, Nadal won the Rome Masters and celebrated his 20th victory over a player ranked in the top spot. They both had a similar number of victories, but Novak committed significantly more errors. His shot selection and backhand both fell far short of his expectations. In the longest and most arduous rallies, Rafa was significantly more effective.

After a difficult period owing to injuries, it was enough to get him over the finish line and provide a desperately needed crown. Although Nadal was the lone player on the court, both players served at a rate of above 70% in the first set.

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The Spaniard lost three points after the opening stroke but continued to rack up solid holds and put pressure on Novak, who was unable to match those figures. Djokovic dropped 60% of his points in his games, and Nadal was given nine opportunities to bagel him, but he only managed three breaks.

Nadal dominated the court, with a commanding lead in the shortest and longest rallies to race over the finish line, and made the best start to the final with 12 winners and just four unforced errors. After an errant forehand in the opening game of the match, the Serb lost service.

Novak Djokovic lost to Rafael Nadal in the Rome Masters final of 2019.

Rafa, who is doing better on the court, won another return game at 2-0 with a forehand down the line. After Nadal‘s backhand down the line bullet, Djokovic lost service in game five despite having five break points.

After 38 minutes, the Spaniard clinched the match with a service winner in game six to make it 6-0. After that horrible opening performance, Novak improved in set two. In game four, he produced a break point and a few crucial routine holds.

Rafa kept his serve intact and thwarted the attack with a strong forehand winner down the line. In game seven, when he was on the danger of losing, Djokovic resisted three break points, staying strong and fending off another at 4-4 to improve his prospects.

Nadal was serving to stay in the set in game ten when he blew a game point and blasted a forehand long, giving the break and the set to Novak. After this result, Novak shouted toward his team, clearly relieved. Both players had more winners than unforced errors, but the Serb won the most important points to force a deciding.

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The Spaniard immediately put the previous set behind him and broke to restore order in the opening game of the third set. After Djokovic made a backhand error in game five, Nadal wasted another break point with the score at 1-1 and went on to win 4-1. Eight-time champion Novak took an early 5-1 lead thanks to a careless forehand, and Rafa put the match away with another break in game seven to secure his first victory against the Serb in a year.

Novak Djokovic is defeated by Rafael Nadal, who wins his 34th Masters 1000 title.

By Antonio Zaccaro

Hello, I'm Antonio Zaccaro, tennis lover since I was 13. I started this blog out of pure passion, and now it has become my job. I constantly follow all the tournaments and I am always updated on all the news. What I know, I share with all my readers. My considerations are the result of hours and hours spent in front of screens and on tennis courts.