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Nadal back on top after Rome joy

 

By Robert Jones

Rafael Nadal took full advantage of a weather delay to beat defending champion Alexander Zverev in a rollercoaster final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

Nadal was a break down in the decider when rain forced a second stoppage of the match, with Zverev having won nine of the previous 12 games.

And when play resumed after a delay of 50 minutes, Nadal immediately broke back and won four games in succession to seal a 6-1 1-6 6-3 victory.

A 32nd Masters 1000 title and an eighth in Rome will take Nadal back to World No.1 today, the 31-year-old having relinquished top spot with a quarter-final defeat to Dominic Thiem in Madrid last week.

The 21-year-old Zverev, who had lost all four of his previous meetings with Nadal, raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set and Nadal breathed a sigh of relief after getting a game on the board to avoid a first bagel on clay since 2007.

After serving out for the set, Zverev broke in the opening game of the decider and was ahead 3-2 when a lengthy stoppage for rain ultimately swung the momentum firmly in Nadal's favour.

Nadal was full of praise for his opponent at the presentation ceremony broadcast on Sky Sports: "Today the trophy is with me for just a few points," he said. "It was a very difficult match."

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