Novak Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal in the final of the Italian Open to claim his third title in Rome.
The Serbian denied the world no. 1 his third consecutive victory in the Italian capital despite surrendering the first set to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 and and claim the momentum ahead of the French Open next week.
Ahead of his bid to secure a ninth title at Roland Garros, Nadal stormed into a 4-1 lead as Djokovic went two break downs before he began to assert control. However Nadal would recover from 0-40 to secure a gripping first set, but his failure to dominate from the centre of the court suggested his opponent would have little problem rediscovering momentum heading into the second.
The world no. 2 would dictate much of the second and despite dropping his serve broke twice to level and leave the contest compellingly poised heading in to the decider.
A frenetic start from Djokovic saw him break early but a resilient Nadal powered his way back into contention after holding serve to level things up at 3-3. However the Spaniard's resurgence was quickly quelled by the composed Djokovic, who resumed where he had left off earlier in the set and broke his opponent to leave him on the brink of victory.
Nadal was unable to summon that doggedness from earlier in the set as Djokovic served for the sixth time en route to victory, his fourth over the Spaniard in a row.