Second seed, Rafa Nadal enjoyed the perfect fillip ahead of his French Open defence with a commanding 7-5 6-3 victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic to win a record sixth Italian Open title. in the delayed Rome Masters final on Monday.
Beaten surprisingly early on Madrid's blue clay earlier this month, the 25-year-old Mallorcan was at his destructive best to claim the title in the Italian capital for the sixth time.
In doing so he will rise back to second in the world rankings after being overtaken by Roger Federer last week.
The match, the 32nd between the pair, had been postponed by rain on Sunday, but both players came out firing in front of a healthy crowd in the Foro Italico as the sun returned.
The duo swapped breaks midway through the first set before Nadal made the decisive breakthrough in the 11th game.
Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted at match point.
The Serbian had enjoyed a run of seven successive victories over Nadal prior to last month's Monte Carlo Masters final but the Spaniard has now won their last two meetings.