Fifth-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal has captured his third straight clay-court title by outlasting Guillermo Coria of Argentina in a five-set marathon at the Rome Masters tennis tournament.
Nadal struggled with blisters and fatigue and fell behind 3-0 in the final set Sunday. But the 18-year-old rallied to defeat the ninth-seeded Coria, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 for his 17th straight victory.
Afterwards, Nadal called the five hour and 14 minute victory the toughest match of his life. The win was a repeat of the Spaniard's victory over Coria in the Monte Carlo Masters final last month.
Nadal also won the following week in Barcelona, part of his tour-best 31-2 record on clay this season. He is expected to be one of the big favorites when the second major of the year - the French Open - gets underway in Paris on May 23.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.