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Nadal feeling sharp ahead of Roland Garros

ESPN staff
May 21, 2012
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Monday © PA Photos

Rafael Nadal hailed his mental resilience after grabbing his sixth Rome title on Monday by beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal triumphed 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes to throw down the gauntlet to his rivals ahead of the French Open.

"I had to be very focused all the time, his return is unbelievable," he said. "I suffered a lot on every serve but I was very, very focused.

"The mentality was there at the right time because I know to win matches against Novak you have to be at your limit all the time because he's pushing you at every moment. I think I was strong mentally today, enough to play very well at the important moments."

Meanwhile, Djokovic has insisted that Nadal has to be considered the man to beat at Roland Garros. "He is always the favourite, even if I win against him seven times," Djokovic said.

"He is the best player in the world on this surface. I think that the match today was quite close, even if he won in straight sets.

"If you don't use the opportunities against Rafa he gets momentum. I made a lot of errors which should not happen when you play against Nadal. I will go to Paris with confidence and I played a great week."

Men's rankings: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (SPA), 3. Roger Federer (SWI), 4. Andy Murray (GBR), 5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 6. David Ferrer (SPA), 7. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 8. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB), 9. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), 10. Mardy Fish (USA)

Women's rankings: 1. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 3. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 4. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 5. Serena Williams (USA), 6. Sam Stosur (AUS), 7. Li Na (CHN), 8. Marion Bartoli (FRA), 9. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 10. Angelique Kerber (GER)

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