Rafael Nadal was grateful for a timely rain delay after fighting back to beat Alexander Zverev in a pulsating Internazionali d'Italia final.
Nadal will return to the top of the rankings on Monday following his eighth success in Rome, but he had to dig himself out of a hole to beat Zverev 6-1 1-6 6-3.
The 16-time grand slam champion was 3-1 down in the final set when play was halted for a short time and a delay of around 50 minutes followed after Nadal had made it 3-2.
That lengthy break halted Zverev's momentum and Nadal brushed the defending champion aside to regain the title, ensuring Roger Federer's latest spell at the top of the rankings was only brief.
Nadal will go into the French Open in fine fettle after winning three of the four tournaments he entered on clay following his return from injury, but he knows there was an element of fortune about his latest triumph.
"When it happened, the rain delay, I didn't feel in that moment that it would help me," the Spaniard said.
"That's my feeling. It's true that, if we analyse it now, of course, we can say that the rain delay helped me. But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I took after that break.
"And, of course, a little bit of luck that I had the break back immediately. That was a big help. And I think I played with the right determination and strategy later."
Couldn't be happier traveling back home now with this trophy in my hands... Took this picture at the locker room for you guys, Thanks for the support!!! pic.twitter.com/iNbbdOKGXe— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) May 20, 2018
Zverev said he struggled to get going again when play resumed as his 13-match winning run was brought to a halt.
"There's nothing I can do about it," Zverev said about the rain. "Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis. He came out way faster and played much more aggressive than I did.
"And, you know, with the fatigue I had it took me a very long time to get activated again and to get going. Obviously, it wasn't enough time. It just changed momentum. And Rafa is somebody that if you're not in the match and if you're not feeling the ball well, you have no chance."
|Vince, Curran star as Sixers trounce Heat to move second|
|Sharapova stunned by Barty as Kvitova takes Anisimova to school|
|Guardiola demands improvement after Man City win|
|Sexton has bat phone to referees - Jones|
|Alonso accepts Chelsea guilty of ´silly mistakes´ in Arsenal defeat|
|Guardiola woke us up - Sane reveals half-time rocket for Man City|
|A first step to something bigger - Tsitsipas eyeing glory after shocking Federer|
|Thailand 1 China 2: Gao Lin keeps dream alive for Lippi|
|Tsitsipas in dreamland after ousting Federer, birthday boy Tiafoe breaks new ground|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Manchester City 3: Danilo, Sterling and Sane on target for ton-up City|
|Allegri: Khedira will be like a new signing for Juventus|
|Manchester City reach 100 goals in 2018-19|
|Australia v Uzbekistan: Leckie´s return is ´like a new signing´, says Arnold|
|Jordan 1 Vietnam 1 (aet, 2-4 on penalties): Keeper Van Lam the shoot-out hero|
|Federer confirms French Open return after Melbourne exit|
|I accept his decision - Gattuso axes Chelsea-bound Higuain|
|The rapid rise of Federer-conqueror Tsitsipas|
|Gracious Federer hails ´better player´ Tsitsipas after Australian Open exit|
|Tsitsipas ´happiest man on earth´ after stunning Federer|
|Harden focused on wins, not personal feats after scoring 48 points|
|PSG midfielder Verratti suffers sprained ankle|
|Inspired Tsitsipas dethrones Federer|
|PSG´s Cavani considering career finale in Uruguay|
|Feisty Collins ready to make more noise after thrashing Kerber|
|I´ve got to work on my soccer skills! - Mavs´ Doncic didn´t know ejection rule|
|Lakers won´t rush LeBron & Rondo back despite Ball injury|
|A-League Review: Victory fightback in thriller with Wellington|
|Henry explains foul-mouthed confrontation with Strasbourg´s Lala|
|Nadal wary of ´dangerous´ Tiafoe|
|Emery ´not positive´ over Bellerin injury|
|Harden scores 48 points as Rockets rally past Lakers in OT|
|Pacquiao wants Mayweather rematch after beating Broner|
|Sharapova unimpressed with questions after Melbourne exit|
|Nadal outclasses Berdych en route to quarters|
|Collins trounces 2016 Aus Open champion Kerber|
|Sanchez: Man United thriving thanks to Solskjaer|
|Sharapova crashes out of Australian Open|
|Devils´ Palmieri replaces Hall on NHL All-Star roster|
|Tuchel stunned by PSG´s nine-goal thrashing of Guingamp|
|Modric wants to extend Real Madrid stay|
|Marotta: Icardi will re-sign, Godin wants Inter|
|´F*** no!´ - Westbrook on if he´s cool with Embiid|
|Mickelson shoots 66 to stay ahead at Desert Classic|
|Real Madrid? You never know what the future holds - PSG´s Mbappe|
|Inter lacked quality in disappointing Sassuolo draw - Spalletti|
|Walton has one goal for Lakers-Rockets matchup: Keep Harden under 50 points|
|CAF Champions League Review: Simba learn Vita lesson as Sundowns find form|
|Bayliss relishing pressure of World Cup and Ashes to finish England reign|
|Guardiola keen to keep City rhythm and challenge on four fronts|
|Fifita backs Johnson to inspire the Sharks|
|For Real Madrid, nothing is impossible - Solari refuses to give up in title race|
|Inter 0 Sassuolo 0: Spalletti´s side labour at sparse San Siro|
|Marshawn Lynch will continue playing ´if it works out´|
|Simeone excited by improving Atleti|
|Jones ´cautiously optimistic´ over Farrell ahead of Ireland clash|
|Sarri questions Chelsea motivation after Arsenal surrender|
|Emery urges Arsenal to find balance after downing Chelsea|
|Koscielny hails Arsenal fighting spirit in Chelsea win|
|Pellegrini: It was not a good idea for Arnautovic to play|
|Iran v Oman: We´re not satisfied yet, says Al Mahaijri|
|Carbery sends Munster through and ends Exeter´s lingering Champions Cup hopes|
|Dyche defiant despite offside call|
|Hasenhuttl rates Everton win as Southampton´s best|
|Benitez looking up the table after Schar inspires win over Cardiff|
|RB Leipzig 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Witsel restores six-point cushion|
|Swansea City 1 Sheffield United 0: McBurnie punishes wasteful Blades|
|Cardiff sign Sala from Nantes for club-record fee|
|Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0: Lacazette and Koscielny fire Gunners to rousing derby win|
|Huesca 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Dominant Atleti keep pressure on Barca|
|Rashford arguably league´s best striker with Kane out - Solskjaer|