Congrats to Rafa who put down a solid challenge from Nole to win his 15th Masters Shield, 30th straight clay match, fourth Rome title, and drop Nole to #4, in a tightly contested straight set win, 76(2) 62.
Sure, Rafa's just technically a better clay courter than Nole, but what stands out, again, is Rafa's superior mental ability. His ferocity and ability to truly play point-by-point and stay focused within each game, each point, each shot, is really what puts him over the edge. And that superior ability is distinctly obvious whenever he plays Nole.
Kid showed flashes of brilliance today, coming back from a break down in the first to even it out and force a tiebreak. But how frustrating was it watch him dazzle you in one point and then hit a clunker of a shot in the next? Too bad, Falcon. But you had one heck of a week anyway and losing to Rafa in a final and playing him competitively in two clay finals now has to calm that brain of yours down.
Rafa will take a one week break off before Madrid now. Much deserved. Nole is on his way to the Djokovic Open. I'm worried a bit that his legs will be gone come the second week of RG. But good luck, Falcon.