Serena, Nadal reign

After all these years, Rafael Nadal still knows how to dominate Roger Federer.
In the 30th meeting between the two tennis greats, Nadal controlled the final from start to finish to win 6-1, 6-3 Sunday for his seventh Italian Open (Rome Masters) title.
It was the most lop-sided win in the series since Nadal also lost just four games, but over three sets, in the 2008 French Open final against Federer.
Nadal improved to 20-10 in his career against Federer, and showed once again that he’ll be the player to beat when the tournament at Roland Garros starts next Sunday. It was the fifth-ranked Spaniard’s fifth title since returning earlier this year from a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury.
In the women’s final, Serena Williams won her fourth consecutive title of the year in impressive fashion, defeating third-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3. The top-ranked American will go to Paris on a career-best 24-match winning run.
Serena was coming off consecutive titles in Miami; Charleston, South Carolina; and Madrid last week.
She didn’t drop a set while winning this title.
Federer had also not dropped a set all week, but he had no reply for Nadal’s topspin-heavy groundstrokes. The 17-time Grand Slam winner attempted serving and volleying, but he either missed the volley or Nadal passed him with the return. Federer lost more points, 10, than he won, nine, at the net. He also committed 32 unforced errors to Nadal’s eight.
Centre court at the Foro Italico was packed to the limit with 10,500 fans, but the crowd didn’t get to see too much tennis. The men’s final took only 1 hour, 9 minutes, and the women’s final lasted only slightly longer.
On a pleasant spring day, Serena immediately took control by breaking Azarenka’s serve twice to take a 3-0 lead in the opening set.
The 15-time Grand Slam winner slugged winners at will off Azarenka’s first and second serves, stepping into the court to dictate play at every opportunity.
Azarenka grew distraught at the end of the first set, twice slamming her racket on the court in desperation.
After trading breaks midway through the second set, Serena took control again when Azarenka double-faulted to give her a 5-3 lead. Serena served out the match at love, letting out a big scream when she unleashed a backhand winner down the line to close it out.

Bhupathi, bopanna falter in final Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna ended runners-up at the Rome Masters after a tame straight sets defeat at the hands of top seeded American team of Mike and Bob Bryan.
The sixth-seeded Indian combination lost 2-6, 3-6 in the summit clash of the euro 3,204,745 clay court event.
— Agencies

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