(May 18, 2014) Novak Djokovic stretched his win streak over No. 1 Rafael Nadal to four in a row when he came back to beat the seven-time Rome champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Italian Open on Sunday. Top women’s tennis player Serena Williams beat an injured Sara Errani in front of her home crowd 6-3, 6-0 to win her third Italian Open championship.
For No. 2 Djokovic who sat out last week’s Madrid Open due to a wrist injury, the Serbian had more than tennis on his mind during his battle with Nadal as dozens have died in the Balkans due to severe floods.
The 26-year-old, who drew a heart on the court in the clay with his racquet after his win, dedicated his victory to flood-hit Serbia.
“This heart on the court is for you,” Djokovic said on court. “It’s also a special dedication to my country, which is suffering a lot right now. My heart is with them.”
For Nadal who was pushed to three sets in all but one of his matches this week in Rome, he said: “It was a difficult week. Too many hours on the court.”
“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines. I think this week is important for me. I have won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged that what I did a few weeks ago.”
The Spaniard hit 27 errors with only 15 winners against Djokovic. For the first time, 8-time Nadal enters Roland Garros, which begins next Sunday, with three losses on clay this season and just one European clay court title (Madrid). Nadal is 59-1 at the French Open.Djokovic is seeking his first French Open title. He was a finalist in 2012.
“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” Djokovic said. Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.”
Djokovic takes home his 19th ATP Masters Series title.
Serena Williams Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and with a 5-3 lead, Errani sustained a left thigh injury and had to go off the court to get treatment. After Errani came back on the court, it was obvious that her movement was hampered. Williams who has been dealing a through injury herself last week when she pulled out of Madrid, reeled off the next 7 games for the title.
Speaking to the Rome crowd in Italian, Williams said, “I’m also sorry for Sara today. She really played great all week.”
“I’m sorry. You were unbelievable all week,” said Errani to the fans during the trophy presentation. “I tried to do my best and stayed on the court only for you.”
“It’s crazy for me that I got to the final this year,” Errani said through tears. “I never expected to manage to play such good tennis.”
“Sara played really well in the first set,” Williams added. “She was doing everything right and I could tell she had obviously improved since our last meeting in Paris last year,” Williams continued. It was unfortunate she got injured in the last game of the set, but overall I thought she was playing really well out there.”
For Williams it was her 60 title of the 32-year-old American veteran’s career. She now ranks 6th overall behind Martina Navratilova holds the record with 167 singles titles.
“My game gets better with age,” Williams said.
Williams will be going after her third French Open title when the Tournament begins next Sunday.
INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
May 12-18, 2014
Results – Sunday, May 18, 2014
WTA Singles – Final
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (10) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 60
WTA Doubles – Final
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 40 ret. (Errani: left hip muscle strain)
ATP Singles – Final
 N Djokovic (SRB) d  R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 63
ATP Doubles – Final
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) 64 76(2)