ROME — Rafael Nadal came out on top in a matchup of this year’s top two clay-court players, beating defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 Sunday to win a record-extending eighth Italian Open title.
Nadal recovered from an early break in the third set after a 50-minute rain delay.
The victory means Nadal will reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Roger Federer on Monday.
Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon.
Nadal and Zverev had each won two titles on clay this season entering the final, with Nadal lifting trophies in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and Zverev taking Munich and Madrid.
Nadal improved to 5-0 in his career against Zverev and gained an extra measure of confidence entering the French Open, which starts next Sunday.
Earlier, Elina Svitolina defended the women’s title, facing little resistance from top-ranked Simona Halep in a 6-0, 6-4 win.