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Nadal summons rain to beat Zverev in Rome

Rafael Nadal was being pummeled in the Rome final against Alexander Zverev, before controversially causing a rain delay to turn the match around.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Nadal, the Spanish God of Clay, was on the verge of missing out on an unprecedented eighth Rome title against young gun, Alexander Zverev, before using his cosmic powers to summon rainfall that would ultimately turn the match in his favour.

The match looked a foregone conclusion after a solar-powered Nadal crushed the visibly fatigued German 6-1 in the first set, pushing and pulling him around the court like a puppeteer.

But as the clay court Superman's power source faded behind the clouds, a rejuvenated Zverev, driven by youthful exuberance and a glorious mane of flowing hair, immediately returned the favour in the second set with a 6-1 scoreline of his own.

Nadal, recognising he needed something big to change the way the match was playing out, used the break between sets to perform a beautiful, yet ominous, rain dance, to the delight of the raucous Italian crowd. Almost immediately, the dark clouds already circling above the Foro Italico, as if waiting for the Spaniard's call, burst open.

The rain was slight at first, allowing Zverev to continue riding his wave of momentum in the third and final set like the surfer he seems to base his appearance on.

But the rain, much like Nadal's rage when a mortal dares to win a set against him on his beloved surface, intensified, and Rafa's dastardly plan came into effect. With Nadal down a break of serve, the umpire had no choice but to postpone play.

After gathering his thoughts, the Spaniard performed an equally entrancing reverse rain dance, no doubt adding to Zverev's broken concentration, and reeled off 5 straight games to win the tournament for an incredible eighth time.

"It was an amazing tournament", said Nadal. "I was worried the rain dance wouldn't work in time, but luckily I was able to get the rain delay I needed, as Zverev was playing very well