ROME -- Andy Murray celebrated his 29th birthday by beating Novak Djokovic on clay for the first time to win the Italian Open title Sunday in a match that Djokovic argued should have been stopped due to rain.
Gaining a measure of revenge for his loss to Djokovic in the Madrid Open final a week ago, the third-ranked Murray defeated the top-ranked Serb 6-3, 6-3.
"The finals of a Masters series on clay is something that's a new experience for me," Murray said. "It's nice to still be sort of achieving new things and reaching new goals at this stage of my career."
During the trophy ceremony, Murray was presented with a birthday cake. He dedicated the title to his 3-month-old daughter, Sophia Olivia.
It's Murray's first title in Rome, and it comes a week before the French Open begins.
"The last couple of years, clay has probably been my most successful surface, which I never expected," Murray said.
The only other British man to win the Italian Open was Pat Hughes in 1931.
"It's mostly great players have won this event, so I'm very proud to have my name on the trophy," Murray said.
Djokovic had won all four of their previous matches on clay but had to fight fatigue following draining wins over Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori. Djokovic also played with a bandage on his left ankle after bruising himself with his racket a day earlier.
"It was a week with a lot of emotions, a lot of hours on the court," Djokovic said. "It wasn't easy to be fresh today and have the strength to play with Andy. He was just too good today, and he deserved it."
For much of the men's final, steady rain fell. Fans covered themselves with ponchos and held up umbrellas to keep dry.
Djokovic argued several times with chair umpire Damian Steiner over the court conditions, saying it was too slippery.
"I don't want to play anymore," Djokovic told the umpire late in the second set.
"I didn't ask to postpone the match," Djokovic explained later. "I asked to have a little break where we would give a little more time, maybe five more minutes, to people to arrange the court."
Murray, however, appeared to have no trouble and never dropped his serve, saving all three break points he faced and finishing the tournament without losing a set.