Rafael Nadal warmed up for the French Open with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the Spaniard claimed his record-extending 10th Italian Open title in Rome on Sunday in the latest chapter of their rivalry.

After a mid-match wobble, Nadal turned up the heat in the decisive moments of his 57th meeting with Djokovic — the pair's ninth in Rome — to secure the victory over the defending champion in 2 hours, 49 minutes.

"I was lucky in some moments, especially against (Denis) Shapovalov," Nadal said, referring to the round of 16 match he won in a tiebreak in the decider.

"And then I think I played a good tournament, I have been playing better and better, finding my rhythm on clay. I had a very positive week and I'm very happy.

"It's amazing to have this trophy in my hands for the 10th time. It's something impossible to imagine but it happened so I'm super happy and can't thank my team enough."

Nadal broke to go ahead 6-5 in a tight opening set and staved off a late comeback attempt from Djokovic to take the early advantage in the contest with a searing inside-out forehand that caught the Serbian off guard.

Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in the French Open final last year in their previous meeting, pounced in the second set to race ahead 5-1 as the Spaniard's intensity dropped. He quickly leveled the match at one set apiece.

Nadal, the No. 2 seed, then saved two break points at 2-2 in the third set and fired an emphatic shot down the line to hold, before switching gears to complete the win and match Djokovic's record of 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles.