Internazionali BNL d’Italia—Rome, Italy

Sunday’s action in Rome, Italy saw Karolina Pliskova and Rafael Nadal capture respective titles ahead of next week’s French Open.

First up, Pliskova notched her 13th career title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Johanna Konta. Using her big serve and flat ground-strokes to great effect, Pliskova hit five aces, won 73 percent of her first serve points and broke serve on two occasions. Never losing her own delivery, Pliskova also improve her head-to-head record against Konta to 6-1.

Konta, who was in search of her fourth career title, defeated Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and Madrid winner Kiki Bertens en-route to the finals.

The day’s second match saw a much-anticipated contest between the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world. Aiming to win his 12th Roland Garros crown in Paris, Nadal stormed to his 34th career Masters 1000 title with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Novak Djokovic.

Taking advantage of a visibly tired opponent, Nadal raced out to a 6-0 lead before a more competitive second set ensued.

With two late night matches in the books for Djokovic in the semifinals and quarterfinals, the top seed managed to storm back to take the second set in gutsy fashion before Nadal ran away with the third set and the match.

Needing two hours and 25 minutes to win his ninth title in Rome, Nadal also won his first title since the Rogers Cup last summer.

The Spaniard will head into the French Open as one of the top favorites.

Djokovic, who won the title in Madrid last week, will be aiming to win his fourth straight Major in Paris.


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