Nadal reigns supreme

Nadal reigns supreme

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.

German second seed Zverev was 3-1 up in the decider before two rain stoppages halted his momentum.

When they returned after a second lengthy stoppage, top seed Nadal raced away with the last five games to secure a 32nd Masters title and ensure a return to the world number one spot.

“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.

“To win Rome eight times is amazing, it’s hard to describe. To have the chance to win here again is so great.

“As for Roland Garros, I’m going to enjoy this victory and think about Paris in a few days.

“For Alexander it’s amazing to have won that many matches in a row,” Nadal said after winning in just over two hours.

Svitolina wins 

Earlier, Elina Svitolina underlined her status as a top favourite for the French Open by sweeping Simona Halep aside 6-0, 6-4 to successfully defend crown on Sunday.

In a repeat of last year’s final at the Foro Italico, Ukrainian Svitolina, seeded fourth, was up against Halep a day after the Romanian top seed had ousted Russian Maria Sharapova.

Svitolina, the world number four, has now successfully defended three career titles, in Baku, Dubai and also Rome; she also won in Brisbane and Dubai this season to take her 2018 title total to three.

“It’s amazing that I could do this here a second time and defend,” said Svitolina. “This is something very, very special.

“Congratulations to Simona, she had a great week of tennis.”

Thanks to reaching the final in Rome Halep will take the top seeding for Roland Garros.