Novak Djokovic took his unbeaten start to 2011 to 37 matches as he stunned world number one Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 to win the Rome Masters. Monday was the fourth time in a row the Serbian has beaten Nadal in a Masters final this season and the second successive week he has done so on clay after winning in Madrid.
Djokovic has won all seven tournaments he's played this year, including the Australian Open, and must surely now be considered the favourite going into the French Open which starts next Sunday.
The world number two, who lost all of his eight previous matches on clay against the Spaniard before his Madrid triumph, is also homing in on Nadal's top ranking.
At 3-3, 30-15, Djokovic found an impossible angle to hit a forehand winner and secured that game after running Nadal all over the back of the court, the Spaniard netting a backhand on the stretch.
That seemed to galvanise the Serbian and a wild Nadal forehand gave up a double break point in the next game. Incredibly he then took his eye off a routine backhand and clipped the ball off the rim and into the skies to hand Djokovic a 5-3 lead after which the Serb capitalised to finish things off in Rome.
Run won't last forever, says nadal
Rafael Nadal has warned Novak Djokovic that his unbeaten start to 2011 won't last forever. "I can't ask more of myself. I'm trying, I'm doing very well but one player is doing better than me. "That won't continue like this forever because it's impossible. I wish him the best but I will keep trying," said Nadal.