Novak Djokovic completely melted down in the Italian Open final as Rafael Nadal again proved to be the undisputed King of Clay.
Nadal claimed a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title with a three-set victory over Djokovic on Sunday.
The defending champion triumphed 6-0 4-6 6-1 in two hours and 25 minutes, notching the first-ever bagel in 54 career match-ups with Djokovic.
The World No.1 was absolutely fuming with his performance, obliterating a racquet as the match slipped from his grasp.
After the shock bagel in the first set, Djokovic appeared to find his way and sent the match to a deciding third.
But it was all one way traffic from there, the Serb taking his anger out on his racquet, earning a code violation in the process.
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) May 19, 2019
French Open favourite?
Nadal, who had shared the record of 33 Masters titles with Djokovic, warmed up for the defence of his French Open crown by securing his ninth Rome title.
Nadal got off to a flying start by whitewashing a shellshocked Djokovic in the opening set.
Djokovic took the second by breaking Nadal’s serve for the first time while leading 5-4, but the second seed responded in style by storming through the decisive set.
After losing in the semi-finals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Nadal admitted this was a big statement ahead of Roland Garros.
“You were asking for titles. Finally I have a title,” Nadal told reporters.
“Here we are. Important title, important moment.”
Djokovic, who coming off the Madrid Open title last week, refused to use fatigue as an excuse.
“Rafa was simply too strong today,” the Serb said.
“I was just running out of fuel a little bit today. Just kind of missed that half a step, especially on the backhand side.”