ROME (AP) - Rafael Nadal is right back where he wants to be.
After losing in the semifinals of three straight clay-court tournaments, Nadal dominated for stretches against his longtime rival, Novak Djokovic, in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win Sunday for a record-extending ninth Italian Open title.
"You were asking for titles. Finally I have a title," Nadal told reporters. "Here we are. Important title, important moment."
It marked the first time in an Open Era-record 54 meetings, and in their 142nd set against each other, that Nadal won a set against Djokovic without conceding a game - otherwise known as a bagel.
In all, Nadal had a career-high four bagel sets in this tournament.
"I played a great first set in all aspects. No mistakes. Playing so aggressive, changing directions," Nadal said. "It's not usual and probably will not happen again."
The timing for Nadal's return to form could not have been more opportune, as he will seek a record-extending 12th title at the French Open starting next weekend.
"Winning a title is important but for me the most important thing is (to) feel myself competitive, feel myself healthy," Nadal said. "Then with the feeling that I am improving. I know if I'm able to reach my level you can win, you can lose, but normally I'm going to have my chances - especially on this surface.
"Now is the moment to keep going," Nadal added.
In the women's final, Karolina Pliskova captured the biggest clay-court trophy of her career by beating Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-4.
Top-ranked Djokovic, meanwhile, appeared exhausted after spending more than 5 ½ hours on court against Juan Martin del Potro and Diego Schwartzman the previous two days.
Djokovic was also coming off the Madrid Open title last week.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long announced his retirement from football, ending an 11-year NFL playing career that included winning two Super Bowl titles and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Long posted his decision Saturday night on Twitter, saying it has "been a hell of a journey" and adds that "I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it."
The 33-year-old Long, the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, had 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles in stints with the Rams, Patriots and Eagles. He won back-to-back championships with the Patriots (2017) and Eagles (2018). Long was selected last February as the league's Walter Payton Award recipient for his outstanding community service.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland's Damian Lillard says separated his ribs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Lillard confirmed the injury on Sunday, a day after the Trail Blazers lost 110-99 in Game 3. Lillard was 5-of-18 from the floor and finished with 19 points as Golden State took a 3-0 series lead.
The injury was originally reported by The Athletic. Lillard said the separation is on the left side, and he wore protective padding in Game 3.
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Wisconsin softball team snapped the University of Oklahoma's 41-game losing streak, but couldn't solve the Sooners in the Norman Regional final.
Wisconsin defeated Oklahoma 2-1 in game one before falling 2-0 in game two to end its season.
Giselle Juarez started and struck out eight Badgers in the shutout victory.