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Rome Master: Djokovic downs Nadal; Serena crushes Errani

ROME: Novak Djokovic claimed third Italian Open title with an impressive 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal while Serena Williams crushed local favorite Sara Errani 6-3 6-0 in Rome in Women's event on Sunday.

World number two Djokovic was broken twice in the first set as Nadal moved towards an eighth Rome title but he came roaring back to dominate the defending champion after that.

Defeat for Nadal was his third on clay in a season for the first time in a decade and raised questions about his form ahead of the French Open which starts next Sunday.

Djokovic will arrive at Roland Garros on a high after collecting the 44th title of his career to draw level with former French Open champion Thomas Muster.

Meanwhile, in the women's event Serena Williams successfully defended her title crushing the 10th- seeded Errani, who was cheered on by a passionate home crowd but suffered a thigh injury towards the end of the first set and never recovered.

All the action was in the first set, which lasted longer than the 46-minute hammering Williams dished out to the Italian in the semi-finals of the French Open last year, when Errani won only one game.

The 27-year-old Errani, who has lost to Serena Williams, 32, in all seven of their meetings, had to leave the court after losing her serve in the eighth game of the first set to get attention for her injury.

She was clearly less mobile after that, and the American rattled off seven easy games in a row to finish the match in one hour and 11 minutes, leaving Errani tearful in defeat.

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