Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Rome Masters 2021 Final: Prediction | Preview | H2H Stats

It is a battle of two legends as the top seed Novak Djokovic locks horns against the second seed Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Rome Masters 2021.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Rome Masters Preview

Novak Djokovic outlasted the home favorite Lorenzo Sonego in a titanic three-set tussle in the semifinals. The Serbian easily won the first set 6-3 and was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set. However, Sonego displayed nerves of steel saving two match points to force a tiebreaker. 

The World number 1 led 4-2 in the tiebreak but the Italian played clutch tennis to take 5 out of the next 6 points grabbing the second set 7-6(5). Djokovic fired 5 aces, won 79% of his first-serve points, and also saved an impressive 6 out of 7 breakpoints.

On the other hand, Rafael Nadal trounced the big-serving Reilly Opelka 6-4 6-4 in the other semis of the Rome Masters.  

Overall, the Spaniard fired 5 aces and clinched 84% of his first-serve points. It was also his landmark 500th match on clay ( a staggering Win-Loss record of 458-42).

Djokovic vs Nadal: Head to Head Record

1) Djokovic leads the head-to-head record by a narrow margin of 29-27 against Nadal. 

2) However, Nadal leads the head-to-head record 5-3 against Djokovic in the ATP-1000 Rome Masters.

3) The Spaniard has won 2 out of their last three H2H encounters. 

4) Rafa won his record 13th French Open title beating Novak in straight sets in the finals in 2020. 

5) Before that, Djokovic defeated Nadal 6-2 7-6(4) in the finals of the ATP Cup 2020. 

6) Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Rome Masters in 2009, 2012, and 2019, the quarterfinals in 2007, and the semifinals in 2018. 

7) The current World No.1 beat the Spanish superstar in the finals in 2011 and 2014, and the quarterfinals in 2016.

Battle of the goats in tennis
Scintillating showdown: Djokovic will look to prove his credentials on the red dirt against the King of Clay, Nadal in the finals of the Rome Masters. Image Credits - Tennis TV - Twitter

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Rome Masters Live Stream & Timing

The 2021 Rome Masters Final match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic can be streamed live on Tennis TV YouTube channel. The match starts at 5 PM Central European Summer Time (CEST).

Djokovic vs Nadal: Rome Masters: Key Insights

  • Djokovic is targetting his 6th ATP-1000 title in Rome and a second title this year.
  • Nadal is aiming to lift his record 10th Rome Masters title at the Italian capital and 62nd clay-court trophy in his illustrious career.
  • Djokovic and Nadal are playing their 53rd and 52nd ATP Masters 1000 finals respectively.
  • If Rafa wins against Novak, he will level the Serb's record of 36 ATP-1000 trophies.
  • Novak Djokovic, the defending champion will play his 10th final in Rome.
  • Nadal and Djokovic are aiming to win their 88th and 83rd ATP singles titles respectively.
  • Nadal is featuring in his 12th final in Rome (9-2 win-loss record). He will aim to win his 26th ATP Masters title on clay.
  • Rafael Nadal has an impressive 67-7 win-loss record at the Rome Masters.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Game Analysis

The World No.1 spent a tiring 6 hours on court in back-to-back marathon matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters and Sonego in the semi-finals. The Serb will have to recharge his batteries ahead of a grueling battle against the King of Clay in the final of the Rome Masters.

Nadal has been very solid in his backhand return in Rome. He has used his powerful forehand to target the centre of the court. 

The Spaniard will be concerned with two statistics, winning a mere 16% of return points on the first serve, and converting only 2 out of 7 breakpoints against Opelka in the semis.

Rafael Nadal has been better than Djokovic in pressure moments in the Italian capital (saved 2 match points against Denis Shapovalov in the pre-quarterfinals). The Serb has been guilty of throwing away advantageous situations only to see his matches becoming longer and affecting his stamina.

Rafa vs Djokovic Rome Masters 2021 Preview
The Spaniard will have to be at his best to lift a mind-boggling 10th ATP Masters title in Rome and Djokovic will look to make things as tough as possible. Image Credits - Getty Images

The great rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has mesmerized the die-hard fans since 2006. They have treated the whole world to jaw-dropping shots, surreal returns, and unbelievable comebacks. 

Nadal holds a slight edge against Djokovic given his better H2H in Rome and the admired tag of being a 9-time champion. 

The Spaniard will be fresh having got more rest than Djokovic. However, Nole will be backing himself to come out firing on all cylinders with his down-the-line backhand and by finishing off points at the net. 

The 20-time grand slam champion also has played his drop shot quite cleverly in the tournament so far which could prove to be the difference. The level of play in the first set between the two GOAT's could decide the winner.

Rome Masters 2021 Final Prediction

Rafael Nadal to win in three sets against Novak Djokovic in the Final tie and clinch the Rome Masters 2021

Featured Image Credits - ATP Tour

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