ROME – Rafael Nadal came out on top in a matchup of this year’s top two clay-court players, beating defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 Sunday to win a record-extending eighth Italian Open title.
Nadal recovered from an early break in the third set after a 50-minute rain delay.
The victory means Nadal will reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Roger Federer on Monday.
Earlier, Elina Svitolina defended the women’s title, facing little resistance from top-ranked Simona Halep in a 6-0, 6-4 win.
Just like in last year’s final, Halep appeared bothered by an injury.
The top-ranked Romanian called a trainer onto the court for an apparent back problem while trailing 2-3 in the second set then exited the court for treatment under a medical timeout.
Last year, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a set lead to Svitolina.
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