Rafael Nadal warmed up for the French Open with a battling 7-5 1-6 6-3 win over world No.1 Novak Djokovic as the Spaniard claimed a record-extending 10th Italian Open title in Rome in the latest chapter of their rivalry.
After a mid-match wobble, Nadal turned up the heat in the decisive moments of his 57th meeting with top seed Djokovic - the pair's ninth in Rome - to secure the victory over the defending champion in two hours and 49 minutes.
"I was lucky in some moments, especially against (Denis) Shapovalov," Nadal said, referring to the round of 16 match he won in a tiebreak in the decider.
"And then I think I played a good tournament, I have been playing better and better, finding my rhythm on clay. I had a very positive week and I'm very happy.
"It's amazing to have this trophy in my hands for the 10th time. It's something impossible to imagine but it happened so I'm super happy and can't thank my team enough."
Nadal will now target a 14th French Open crown when the claycourt Grand Slam begins on May 30.