The match may have started out with some light rain but there was nothing light about Rafael Nadal’s play on Sunday. Nadal obliterated Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1 to win his record 11th Barcelona Open Final.
Debuting in his first final, 19 year old Tsitsipas appeared to start out the match with some nerves and quickly found himself down 1-5. The Greek held his service game to make it 2-5 in hopes to make a comeback but Nadal was too steadfast. Rafa closed out the set with a nice wide serve causing Stefanos to hit his shot long.
Tsitsipas tried playing more aggressively in the 2nd set but it was no use as Nadal was relentless with attacking Stefanos’ backhand causing more unforced errors. The match was over in a mere 77 minutes to give Nadal a record 55th title on clay in the Open Era.
Despite the loss, Tsitsipas can take some positive things away in that he made it to the finals as the youngest finalist in Barcelona since 2005 and will move up to being ranked number 44 in the world.
It was a must-win for Nadal in order to retain the number one ranking in the world. Had he lost then Federer would have taken over. Nadal will begin his 172nd week at number one on Monday, which is 6th all time.
With the victory, Nadal ties Federer with a record 20 Masters 500 titles.
Nadal isn’t called the King of Clay for nothing. He is now an amazing 401-35 for his career on the red dirt, putting him way ahead of the rest of the pack with the highest ever winning percentage on clay.
Next up for Nadal is he will try to defend his title in Madrid.
Featured image credit: Reuters UK
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