Rafael Nadal came out firing after a lengthy rain delay to beat Alexander Zverev in an enthralling Internazionali d'Italia final and return to the top of the rankings.
Zverev was on course to beat the 16-time grand slam champion for the first time when he led 3-1 in the final set, but Nadal won four games in a row following a break of around 50 minutes to turn it around.
Nadal bossed the opening set, but was outplayed in the second and up against it in the decider before regrouping to claim a record eighth title in Rome, beating the defending champion 6-1 1-6 6-3.
The top seed will replace Roger Federer as world number one and heads into the French Open having won three of the four events he has entered on clay since returning from injury.
Defeat for Zverev ends a 13-match winning streak, which earned him back-to-back titles in Munich and Madrid, but it may have been different story if the rain had stayed away at such a crucial stage at the Foro Italico.
Zverev made an ideal start, breaking in the opening game of the match when Nadal ended an enthralling quality rally by drilling a backhand long but the Spaniard hit straight back to level with a deft drop shot on the run.
Nadal took complete control of the opening set, pummelling Zverev with brutal groundstrokes from the back of the court, a blistering forehand flashing past the flat-footed youngster to leave him 3-1 down following another exquisite rally.
A flustered Zverev tossed his racquet down towards his chair after failing to put a forehand away and Nadal was pumping his feet to celebrate taking a 5-1 lead, having conjured up a classy stop volley at full stretch and unleashing a fierce forehand winner down the line.
Nadal wrapped up the set in just over half an hour, but Zverev dusted himself down to turn the tide in spectacular fashion with storm clouds gathering in the Eternal City.
The 21-year-old stopped the rot with a hold in the opening game and all of a sudden he was toying with Nadal, breaking with a vicious forehand winner that the top seed could only thud into the net.
Zverev was on a roll, moving the 'King of Clay' from side to side before a rasping forehand put him 4-0 up and he took it into a decider with a brilliant backhand winner, Nadal coming up with just one winner in the second set.
Incredible athleticism from Nadal saved a break point with a stunning backhand volley at the net but he missed another smash to lose a lengthy first game of the second set and go a break down.
Rain halted Zverev's momentum when he led 3-1 and it was Nadal who came out firing following a lengthier delay at 3-2, the favourite breaking straight after the restart with his opponent looking a little flat.
Nadal had the wind in his sails and a startled Zverev was on the ropes after landing a lob just beyond the baseline to go 5-3 down and the legendary left hander regained his title in style with a backhand stop volley.
|Eagles RBs Ajayi & Sproles out Sunday v Colts|
|Ronaldo looking forward after Champions League red card - Alex Sandro|
|Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister after four seasons|
|Inter captain Icardi can improve - Spalletti|
|Jadeja and Rohit shine as India maintain 100 per cent record|
|Fisher shares lead in Vilamoura after record-breaking 59|
|Messi the best I´ve seen - Lamela|
|Silva demands end to Gomes ´rumours´ and targets early October return|
|Milner over Pogba, says Souness|
|Brazil call up Malcom, drop Thiago Silva and Willian|
|Denly thought Test chance may never come|
|Benitez tells FA to examine Zaha red card comments|
|Bjorn unsure of future after Ryder Cup|
|Tebas still optimistic over Girona-Barcelona in Miami despite RFEF setback|
|Emery promises more chances for frustrated Leno|
|Cahill considering Chelsea departure in January|
|Kaepernick to receive Harvard´s highest honour in African, African-American studies|
|Defending champion Ostapenko dumped out of Korea Open|
|Mourinho is an inspiration - Nuno|
|Witty Wilson ´delighted´ to be praised for Fisher heroics while sitting on couch|
|Burns, Denly and Stone in England squad for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Aspas reveals interest from Real Madrid, Atletico|
|Arsenal´s Mkhitaryan a doubt for Everton match|
|Klopp demands Liverpool ´stay angry´ against Southampton|
|Long-serving Tabarez signs four-year Uruguay extension|
|Injured Mendy ruled out of Cardiff trip|
|Douglas Costa out up to a month with ankle & thigh injuries|
|Slater shrugs off Feki hit amid Grand Final suspension concerns|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp unconcerned by Salah form|
|I didn´t convince him, he decided for himself - Guardiola says thanks to Aguero|
|Leno frustrated by Arsenal bench role|
|Joshua almost 2st heavier than Povetkin for Wembley bout|
|From salvation to the record books - Fisher revels in European Tour´s first 59|
|Lahm says Germany best for Euro 2024 as UEFA publishes report|
|Lopetegui backs Modric over Ronaldo for individual prizes|
|Goretzka to start against former club Schalke, confirms Kovac|
|Fisher shoots first 59 in European Tour history|
|Simeone defends Ronaldo after controversial Champions League red|
|Slater sees Storm into Grand Final, awaits fate over ´shoulder charge´|
|Hogg to miss Scotland´s November Tests following ankle surgery|
|Osaka through as Azarenka and Garcia crash out|
|Burgess weighing up legal options after being cleared in Rabbitohs investigation|
|Uncapped Cottrell and Gordon named in Wallabies squad|
|He´s done fantastic work - Mourinho hails Wolves boss Nuno|
|Joshua v Povetkin: No need for fireworks on AJ´s Wembley return|
|Six titles, 204 goals - Aguero´s incredible City career in Opta stats|
|Read to miss Argentina clash, Ioane brothers sign new deals|
|Pedro allays injury fears after Europa League clash|
|Dilly dilly to all the Cleveland fans! Mayfield promises further Browns success|
|Manchester United ´hell´ left Zaha depressed|
|Jackson hesitates in naming Mayfield as Browns´ starting QB|
|LeBron congratulates Browns for ending 635-day winless streak|
|Aguero Extension: 10 of the best goals from the Manchester City star|
|Aguero signs City contract extension until 2021|
|Stress from drink-driving charge may have contributed to Lloris injury – Pochettino|
|CBF backs Cruzeiro´s Dede appeal and suggests VAR investigation|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Red Sox clinch AL East with win over Yankees|
|Brighton star Knockaert reveals battle with depression|
|Bud Light beer fridges open after Browns snap 19-game winless streak|
|Browns end 635-day drought with first win since 2016 after downing Jets|
|Blue Jays overturn 8-2 deficit in improbable ninth-inning comeback|
|Colo Colo 0 Palmeiras 2: Scolari´s men poised for Libertadores SFs|
|Tour Championship would enhance successful year, says Tiger|
|Pogba: Man United getting better after winning run|
|What bothers me is that he has time to even do that – LeBron responds to Trump tweet|
|Cowboys most valuable NFL team for 12th successive year|
|Mkhitaryan aiming for glory with Europa specialist Emery|
|Sarri: Pedro´s injury is not too serious|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Drama in Minnesota, a Judge returns and tragedy in Iowa|