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Clay-court expert Rafael Nadal delighted his fans from the online Betfair tennis community, by beating world number one Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-3 in a rain-affected final on Monday to seal his sixth Italian Open title.

Nadal avenged his straight sets defeat to the Serbian in last year’s final and reclaimed the number two spot in the world in the process, a week on from losing it to Roger Federer. It was the perfect preparation for the Spaniard ahead of the defence of his French Open title.

In a final delayed because of rain, Djokovic had to withstand an early Nadal charge. The Serb saved two break points on his opening serve but could not prevent Nadal from breaking in the fifth.

Djokovic typically hit back hard and broke back in the following game. But for a bad line-call, he could have repeated the feat two games later and moved within a point of clinching the first set.

Instead, Nadal levelled at 5-5 and then grabbed a second break of serve to take control of the final. The French Open champion comfortably served out to win the first set in 76 minutes.

Nadal continued to impress in the second, breaking Djokovic in the first game before surviving four break points to take a 2-0 lead.

The defending champion had his chances in the rest of the set but could not take them and Nadal broke once more to take his career head-to-head with his rival to 18-14.

Nadal is in ominous form and features in many French Open betting tips. He has now won clay-court titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome this year.

Djokovic has failed to win a clay-court title as he prepares for another tilt at the French Open, the one Grand Slam he has never won. Victory in Paris would make it four Grand Slam titles in a row.
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