Old rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal shake hands ©Getty Images

Spain's Rafael Nadal overpowered long-time rival Novak Djokovic to win his ninth Italian Open title in Rome.

"King of Clay" Nadal, ranked number two in the world behind the Serbian, won the first set without dropping a game and went on to secure a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory.

Djokovic had survived testing three-setters in previous rounds against Diego Schwartzmann and Juan Martin del Potro and he appeared to run out of steam after levelling the match at a set apiece.

That allowed Nadal to capitalise and the 32-year-old wrapped up a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 crown.

Rafael Nadal holds aloft the trophy ©Getty Images
Rafael Nadal holds aloft the trophy ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, former world number one Karolína Plíšková claimed the women's singles title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Johanna Konta.

In seeing off the Briton, Plíšková became the first Czech woman to taste tournament success in Rome since Regina Marsikova in 1978.

"It feels great, especially since nobody really gave me a chance for this tournament, even, I think, me," Pliskova said. 

"Before the tournament, I was not super confident, not thinking about the final at all. 

"I was just happy with every match I played.