When and where: Coverage of the women's final will get underway in Rome not before 7.45 a.m. ET, while the men's final is scheduled to begin not before 10 a.m. ET. Live coverage will be provided by the Tennis Channel, with a live stream available on Tennis TV, through the tournament website. A live stream of the men's final will be accessible via ESPN3.
Preview: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have given tennis fans the perfect aperitif to the French Open as the two favorites for the year's second grand slam go head-to-head in the final in Rome.
Just a week before play begins in Paris, the winner of Sunday's match will take with them a huge psychological boost. Nadal remains the king of clay, but that title is under greater threat than ever before from the man that usurped him on every other surface last year.
Djokovic also looked like creating a seismic shift on the dirt last year when he took out the Spaniard in the final of Rome. But it proved to be a false dawn with Nadal going on to claim his one major of the year with his sixth French Open crown as Djokovic was taken out by Roger Federer.
Against the same opponent in Rome on Saturday, Djokovic looked in imperious form as he defeated the Swiss former World No. 1 in straight sets. And the Serbian is in confident mood heading into the latest installment of his epic rivalry with Nadal.
- FOLLOW US
- Follow @ibtimesindia
"Playing Rafa is always a challenge. He's the best player ever on this surface. But after 2011, I know I can win now," Djokovic said, according to Sports Illustrated. "I need to step into the court and take chances and not allow him to move me around."
Nadal, though, got the upper-hand the last time the pair met in the final of Monte Carlo last month. And, after progressing to the final here without losing a set, the World No.3 will be looking to keep his momentum heading into Roland Garros, as he seeks his sixth title in the ATP Masters 1000 event in the Italian capital.
"[It is the] best thing possible after a fantastic time in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, to keep playing in a clay tournament and then being in the final without losing a set is something fantastic and I am happy," he said, according to the ATP Tour website.
While the focus will be on the heavyweight men's duel, there is plenty of interest, too, in the final of the women's event. And, as with the ATP final, there is more than a little history involved as Maria Shapraova takes on Li Na In a repeat of the French Open semi-final of last year.
Li came out on top on that occasion and famously went onto claim the title in Paris and become the first Asian winner of a grand slam, but has since endured a difficult 12 months attempting to match those heights. But, despite getting a walkover past Serena Williams in the last four, Li looks to be regaining her form at just the right time as she seeks to mount a defense of her Roland Garros crown.
It was Sharapova who won comfortably, though, when the pair last met in Miami earlier this year and the second seed will be desperate to get her second clay-court title of the year as she strives to set about winning the one grand slam she has yet to conquer, in a week's time.
Predictions: Nadal and Djokovic is almost too close to call. Both looked mightily impressive in their semi-finals and both have reason to believe that they can lay down a marker before the French Open. But, if Nadal can consistently get on the front foot, he should edge a close three-setter.
It could well be a similarly close affair in the women's final. Sharapova looks to have the bit between her teeth right now, however, and, spurred on by the memories of winning in Rome last year, should have too much firepower for Li.
To contact the editor, e-mail: