Djokovic beats Nadal in Italian Open final; Serena Williams also wins as Roland Garros nears

The Associated Press

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer

ROME (AP) — Novak Djokovic extended his recent dominance over Rafael Nadal by rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory Sunday to win the Italian Open for the third time.

Having also been beaten in Monte Carlo and Barcelona recently, it marked the first time in a decade that the top-ranked Nadal has lost more than two matches on clay in the same year.

The second-ranked Djokovic has now won four straight matches against Nadal — the previous three in straight sets — and takes the psychological edge into the French Open, which starts next weekend.

In the women's final, Serena Williams kept the crowd from being a factor in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 10th-seeded home favorite Sara Errani to win her third Rome title.

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