Nadal continues winning streak, nails Gonzalez in Rome final
May 13, 2007 - 11:04:35 PM
Rome, May 13 - Spain's Rafael Nadal unleashed his huge game almost at will as he crushed Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 6-2, 6-2 Sunday to win a third straight title at the Rome Masters.
The win in less than 90 minutes kept Nadal's record clay-court winning streak alive at 77 straight victories. He was last beaten on his surface of choice more than two years ago in the Valencia quarterfinals by Russian Igor Andreev.
A day after working in excess of three and a half hours to overcome Russian Nikolay Davydenko in the semis, world number 2 Nadal strolled to the trophy in brilliant sunshine.
'This was an incredible victory. To win here for the third time is a dream. Fernando made more errors than usual and I was able to take advantage,' said the winner.
The two-time French Open champion, aiming to complete a Roland Garros hat-trick starting on May 27, has won 13 titles since his clay run began.
He and Austrian Thomas Muster - have each won three times in Rome, but Nadal carries the extra lustre of straight-through success.
Nadal won his fourth title of the 2007 season after Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
The Spaniard also boasts 16 victories in clay-court finals and is undefeated in Rome on 17-0.
Nadal was untouchable in the first set, where two breaks were enough to see him through in 35 minutes.
He began the second with another break and raced to 3-0. But the fighting Gonzalez, holder of seven titles, managed to break back for 1-3 before Nadal simply raised his game.
The second seed earned a 5-2 lead on his fourth break chance of the seventh game before serving out the straight forward win a game later.
Nadal converted on five of a dozen break points, leaving the Chilean to pick up the crumbs with success on one of two break chances and 31 unforced errors.
'I recovered well after a long match yesterday,' said Nadal, who needed five hours and five sets to beat Roger Federer for the 2006 trophy.
Gonzalez had stood 3-1 over the Spanish phenomenon, but the six seed had to admit Sunday that 'It was too tough today, Rafael's the champion again.'
Nadal improved to an overwhelming 21-3 in career finals.
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