Novak Djokovic won his third Italian Open title and laid down a marker for the French Open with victory over Rafael Nadal in the Rome final.
Djokovic, 26, beat the defending champion and world number one 4-6 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes.
The Serb has now won four matches in a row against Nadal, with the Spaniard’s last victory coming in a dramatic semi-final at Roland Garros http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/22796191 12 months ago.
This year’s French Open, where Nadal is eight-time champion, begins on Sunday.
Despite his daunting record in Paris, the Spaniard might not return as favourite this time after Djokovic’s spectacular performance in Rome.
It is the first time since 2004 that Nadal, who was beaten in the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, has lost more than two matches on clay in a season.
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