Rafa: “I’m going to enjoy this victory and think about Paris in a few days”

Top seed Rafael Nadal survived a stunning fightback from world number three Alexander Zverev to win an eighth Italian Open.

After his success in Rome, Rafa said:

The rain break was so important, I didn’t think it would help me but it did. I was able to come back out with clear ideas, I’m very happy. To win Rome eight times is amazing, it’s hard to describe. To have the chance to win here again is so great.

As for Roland Garros, I’m going to enjoy this victory and think about Paris in a few days.

For Alexander it’s amazing to have won that many matches in a row.

This was a very difficult match played at one of the best events of the world.

To win again after my first (Rome title) in 2005 is amazing, the 2005 final was one of the best memories of my career.

Sources: AP, TennisTV

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VIDEO: Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev – highlights, hot shot, interview (Rome Masters Final 2018)

Rafael Nadal defeated Alexander Zverev to win a record eighth title at Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Highlights:

Hot Shot:

Match point:

Post-final interview:

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Alexander Zverev to win eighth Italian Open and 32nd Masters title

Top seed Rafael Nadal won his eighth Italian Open title when he beat German Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final. He recovered from an early break in the third set after a 50-minute rain delay.

Rafa and Sascha had each won two titles on clay this season entering the final, with Nadal lifting trophies in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and Zverev taking Munich and Madrid.

Rafa improved to 5-0 in his career against Sascha and gained an extra measure of confidence entering the French Open, which starts next Sunday.

The King of Clay won his 78th title – his 32nd Masters title and his 56th clay-court crown.

Today’s victory means that Rafa will reclaim the No.1 spot when the revised ATP rankings are released next week.

WATCH: Rafa pays tribute to Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta

Rafael Nadal, Iker Casillas, Neymar, Sergio Ramos and many other stars have paid tribute to Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta ahead of his final appearance for the Catalans at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday night.

A hugely important figure in Barcelona’s recent successes, at his peak Iniesta was one of the standout players in world football given his vision and exemplary technique. Iniesta has also enjoyed much success on the international stage, winning the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic in semifinal – highlights (Rome Masters 2018)

Watch highlights of Rafael Nadal’s semifinal win against Novak Djokovic in Rome.

Rome Masters Final: What time does Rafael Nadal play against Alexander Zverev?

Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Alexander Zverev will meet for the fifth time when they face off in the men’s singles final at the 2018 Italian Open in Rome.

The German player recovered from an early break in the second set to beat Marin Cilic 7-6(13), 6-4. He is aiming for his third title in three weeks after lifting trophies in Munich and Madrid.

Date: May 20, 2018

Match time: Not before 4 PM local time / 10 AM EDT –  New York, Montreal / 3 PM BST – United Kingdom / 4 PM  CET – Spain, France, Germany, Italy / midnight AEST – Melbourne. To convert to your local time, use this website.

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Rafa:

It will be a tough one. Sascha is playing great, winning a lot of matches in a row. Tomorrow I need to be ready to keep playing my best and that’s what I’m going to try.

Sascha:

I’m definitely not the favourite in this matchup, but I’ll be ready for it and I’ll do everything I can to recover. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

We’ve had some very tough matches. In Indian Wells, I lost with a match point and in Australia we went five sets. Obviously we had some great battles and I’ve always enjoyed playing him. He’s the greatest of all time on clay, but hopefully I can prepare the best I can for tomorrow.

Rafa leads the head-to-head against the German 4-0, and has won all five of the sets they’ve contested on clay, including a three-set victory in a Davis Cup quarter-final between Spain and Germany earlier this year.

Rafa is the best clay-courter of the Open Era with a 407-36 record (.919), and he improved his record in Rome semi-finals to 10-0 with a straight-set win over his most frequent opponent Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

The King of Clay currently holds the record for the most ATP Masters 1000 titles (31, one more than second-place Djokovic) and will be looking for a 32nd against Zverev.

Rafa, who won both Monte-Carlo and Barcelona for the 11th time each this year, needs to win the Masters title to reclaim the world number one spot from Roger Federer.

Good luck & Vamos Rafa!

Source: ATP World Tour

Rome Masters 2018: Post semifinal interview [VIDEO]

Top seed Rafael Nadal reflects on his victory against longtime rival Novak Djokovic in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals.