Rafael Nadal beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-1 1-6 6-3 in an epic encounter in the Italian Open final.

The match was delayed by a 50-minute break for rain,then Zverev was on the ascendancy and was leading the match 6-1, 1-6, 6-3  but  Nadal came out the much fresher man to wrap up the championship.

Nadal cruised to a first-set lead in Rome despite being broken in the very first game of the match.

But Zverev hit back with aggression in the second, beating Nadal 6-1 and pulling off some tantalising tennis.

Zverev got the break in the third but as he looked to turn the screw on Nadal the heavens opened.

The rain delay lasted almost an hour and Nadal immediately broke Zverev on their return to court.

And the Spaniard managed to secure the title before the heavens opened again in the Italian capital, to reclaim the world No 1 spot from Roger Federer.

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