Rafael Nadal is right back where he wants to be. After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Nadal dominated for stretches against his longtime rival, Novak Djokovic, in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win Sunday for a record-extending ninth Italian Open title.
The timing for Nadal’s return to form could not have been more opportune, as he will seek a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend. In the women’s final earlier, Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova swept past Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4 to win the WTA Italian Open.
Pliskova, the 2017 French Open semi-finalist, clinched her 13th career title, in the final major warm-up tournament on clay before Roland Garros starts on May 26. A break in each set was enough for the former world number one to get past Konta, sealing victory on her third match point after 85 minutes on court.