Rumors of Roger Federer’s demise just might be true. Either that or Rafael Nadal just might be too good. Defending champion Nadal thoroughly dismantled the error-prone Swiss icon 6-1, 6-3 in the finals of the Italian Open Sunday afternoon. The title was Nadal’s record 24th Masters crown and seventh at the Foro Italico. Since returning to the tour in February following a seven month layoff due to a knee problem, Nadal has been absolutely brilliant, winning six tournaments and 36 of 38 matches, while appearing in eight straight finals. Federer, ranked No. 3, is still looking for his first title of the year. With the win, No. 5-ranked Nadal will swap places with No. 4 David Ferrer in tomorrow’s updated ATP Rankings. After Federer held serve to open the match, Nadal dominated the rest of the set, breaking serve three times to win six straight games. Two holds and another break put Nadal up 3-0 in the second set. Federer finally held for 1-3, but was broken again in the sixth game while trailing by just a break. The Swiss got the break back in the next game, held and then failed to get a single point in Nadal’s closing service game. The match was over in just 69 minutes. “It’s a very important day, a very happy day for me after a difficult year last year,” Nadal said. “It is really emotional for me to win a tournament with such a long history as Rome.” Nadal hit 12 winners to 15 for Federer, but committed just eight unforced errors to 32 for his opponent. “It didn’t go how I hoped and I was missing too many easy forehands and crucial points,” Federer said. “He does an incredible job returning form the back of the court and it is hard because he covers the court so well. You need to serve accurately. When Rafa is at his best he creates opportunities in rallies and dictates. It was difficult to change.” Nadal improved to 20-10 against Federer and solidified his status as the odds-on favorite to win his eighth French Open which starts a week from today.