- Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 7-5. 6-4 in the final of the Rome Masters
- The victory sees Nadal leapfrog Roger Federer in to second place on the world rankings
- Nadal's latest title comes less than a week until the French Open
- The French Open begins on Tuesday
Rafael Nadal won a record sixth title at the Rome Masters to strike a psychological blow over Novak Djokovic ahead of the French Open.
The Spaniard won 7-5, 6-4 to help erase painful memories from last year's final when Nadal again faced Djokovic only for the Serb to come out on top.
The victory also ends a run of seven defeats for Nadal against Djokovic.
"Winning is important, when you lose you play with doubts," Nadal told AFP after the match.
"This was an important match. I will put this trophy in my bedroom. It is a dream of confidence I am playing well.
"This comes when I play at the right level, hopefully I'll keep playing like this."
The victory, which follows Nadal's shock early exit in Madrid on the now-infamous blue clay, also sees the Spaniard leapfrog Roger Federer into second place in the world rankings.
"It is better two than three and three is better than four. But after eight years being in the top two, it is no big difference," Nadal added.
"It's normal for the rankings to change in the around Roland Garros or Wimbledon. I'm a few points from Roger. I'm happy about everything."
Meanwhile world number one Djokovic must pick himself up after a frustrating display in Rome.
A dubious line call essentially cost him the first set whilst the Serb had six opportunities to break Nadal in the second set, only to fade and finally hand his rival the title with a double fault.
"He is always the favorite, even if I win against him seven times; he is the best player in the world on this surface," Djokovic told the ATP's official website after his loss.
"I think that the match today was quite close, even if he won in straight sets.
"If you don't use the opportunities against Rafa he gets momentum. I made a lot of errors which should not happen when you play against Nadal. I will go to Paris with confidence and I played a great week."
The French Open begins at Roland Garros Tuesday.