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Published May 16, 2011


ROME - Novak Djokovic beat No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the Italian Open final Sunday to stretch his unbeaten start this year to 37 matches and became the first player to beat Nadal on clay twice in the same year.

"I'm just most happy about the game I have this year on clay; the way I'm striking the ball and the way I'm so self-confident," the second-ranked Djokovic said. "I always knew I could beat the top players, but now I have the confidence to do it."

Djokovic could overtake his rival for the No. 1 men's ranking the week after the French Open, which starts this coming Sunday.

"He's doing amazing things. Every match he's very tough mentally and physically," Nadal said. "I'm doing everything I can. ... I am waiting every week to try solutions, so let's see."

More Tennis

Sharapova rolls past Stosur at Italian

Seventh-seeded Maria Sharapova beat part-time Tampa resident Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 in the Italian Open final in Rome, following up her win over women's No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, has not captured the French Open. "This is just the beginning of many things to come," she said. "This is just the start of everything."

Rosewall ill: Australian great Ken Rosewall, 76, was admitted to the stroke ward of a Rome hospital, his wife told the Sydney Morning Herald. Wilma Rosewall said the eight-time Grand Slam winner suffered no heart or brain damage but was being kept under observation.

Roddick injured: Andy Roddick pulled out of the Italian Open doubles final because of a right shoulder injury. The ATP said Roddick has not withdrawn from the tournament set to start today in Nice, France.

Et cetera

Colleges:In women's tennis, No. 2 seed Florida beat visiting South Carolina 4-0 to reach the NCAA round of 16. The Gators play No. 15 seed Clemson on Friday in Stanford, Calif. ... No. 7 seed UF swept visiting Miami 4-0 to reach the NCAA round of 16 in men's tennis against No. 10 Kentucky on Thursday at Stanford. ... Tampa (35-15) earned a spot in the Division II baseball postseason for the 12th straight year. UT travels to Pensacola for its South Region opener Thursday against Harding. ... Texas A&M named Murray State coach Billy Kennedy as its men's basketball coach.

Hockey: Finland scored five third-period goals to beat Sweden 6-1 in Slovakia and win its second world championship.

Soccer: Cristiano Ronaldo had two goals in Real Madrid's 3-1 win at Villarreal to match the Spanish league's single-season goal-scoring record of 38 (Telmo Zarra, 1950-51; Hugo Sanchez, 1989-90). Ronaldo has one game left. ... U.S. midfielder Lindsay Tarpley will miss this summer's Women's World Cup in Germany after tearing a knee ligament in Saturday's 2-0 exhibition win over Japan in Chicago.

Swimming: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps beat former Gator Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter backstroke at the Charlotte (N.C.) UltraSwim.

Times wires