Rafael Nadal Gets His Revenge Over Stefanos Tsitsipas to Reach Rome Final

Rafael Nadal Feeling better every week gives me personal satisfaction

But Swiss star Roger Federer and women's world No 1 Naomi Osaka both pulled out injured from the last warm-up tournament before the French Open starting in a little more than a week.

Nadal's run to the Rome final comes just a week before he starts his assault on a 12th French Open title at Roland Garros.

"I was just running out of fuel a little bit today", said four-time Rome victor Djokovic.

Despite winning his first title this season, Nadal was in fine form and won the first set against Djokovic without losing a game - the first time it had ever happened.

The Serb eventually clinched the second set 6-4 courtesy of some unforced errors from Nadal and ensure a third set, and it seemed as though a looming crisis had been averted.

Nadal broke his opponent twice more to seal a third win over Djokovic in their five Rome finals, although the latter still holds a 28-26 career edge.

Nadal managed to slightly erase the memory of the painful thrashing he received at the Australian Open by beating Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to claim his 34th Masters level title.

"I had luck in the decisive moments in the second set tiebreak", the 31-year-old said.

With question marks over Nadal's fitness this season and Roland Garros just a week away, his ninth title in the Italian capital - and the accompanying performance - sends a message to the rest of the field. "But I never lost faith", the four-time Rome victor said.

"So it's little bit like a miracle for me because clay is always tough".

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But Djokovic hung around in the second and converted his first set point when a looping forehand from Nadal sailed wide for his first break of the match.

But he kept up the pressure with Djokovic again needing to save three break points on his serve in the fourth game of the final set before breaking for 3-2 as the momentum swung his way.

"Everyone is trying to peak for Roland Garros, without a doubt".

Nadal seemed intent on dishing out some of his own humiliation as revenge over the Serbian after that crushing straight sets defeat.

Karolina Pliskova, second from right, of the Czech Republic poses for a photograph with husband Michal Hrdlicka, far right, and coach Conchita Martinez, second left.

"I am not 100 per cent physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play", he said.

It also means the three favorites for the French Open title - Nadal, Djokovic and Dominic Thiem - have all won big clay court tournaments in the lead up.

In the second set, Djokovic recouped to push Nadal all the way, although perhaps the best point up until then was a fantastic rally at three games all that saw Djokovic drive into the net.

She will face world number seven Pliskova, who defeated Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-4.

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