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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Awesome Nadal captures Rome title
Rafael Nadal
A stirring comeback from Rafael Nadal earned him a third consecutive title, with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 victory over Guillermo Coria in the Rome Masters.

The 18-year-old fifth seed fought back from 3-0 down in the deciding set of the final, despite needing treatment on a bruised and blistered racquet hand.

"This was the best match of my career," said Nadal, who is now favourite for the French Open which starts on 23 May.

"It was such a tough match. I'm so happy to have won, it's unbelievable."

Nadal has now won 17 matches in succession, and has five out of seven claycourt titles to his name this year.

It is also the fourth Spanish victory in five years at this tournament.

"I have won three consecutive titles, I don't know how to explain that," said Nadal.

I'm a little bit disappointed because I ran for five hours just to lose with two points
Guillermo Coria
"I am playing well and I have a lot of confidence obviously. I just want to continue at this level."

The match went into the tie-breaker as the five-hour mark was passed, with Nadal grabbing a 5-1 lead.

But the experienced Coria was not finished, pulling to within a point at 4-5.

Nadal earned two match points on an over-rule but a wide return and only his third double-fault of the match wasted both.

The Spaniard came good on his third chance, rolling in joy in the red clay after Coria's return sailed over the baseline.

Coria admitted he was devastated by his defeat.

"I'm a little bit disappointed because I ran for five hours just to lose with two points. Actually, I am very disappointed," said the Argentine.

"It's normal but I lost to a top player who played a great match. So that's it, now I have to move on.

"I think I was pretty close to beating him today, but he's very confident. He has won a lot of matches lately and he's making some incredible shots."

Nadal will move to within ten points of Roger Federer in the ATP Masters race when the stats are updated on Monday.

Interview: Former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe

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17 Apr 05 |  Tennis
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