Rafael Nadal saved a match point before defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in 3 sets to clinch the Barcelona Open title for the 12th time in his career. The win will see Nadal reclaim the second spot on the ATP men’s singles rankings.

Rafa Nadal improved his unbeaten record to 12-0 in finals at the Barcelona Open (AP Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rafa Nadal saved a match point before defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-7(6) 7-5
  • Nadal called it “probably the toughest final” he has had to play in Barcelona
  • It was Nadal’s 7th title in the last 10 editions of the Barcelona Open, and 12th in 16 editions

Rafael Nadal played out a three-set thriller in the Barcelona Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the title for the 12th time in his career on Sunday. Nadal saved a match point before defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-7(6) 7-5 to stretch his record for the most titles at the clay-court tournament.

Nadal was on the brink of defeat in the 10th game of the final set but recovered to win 3 straight games and end his Greek opponent’s nine-game unbeaten start to the European claycourt swing. The win will see Nadal reclaim the second spot on the ATP men’s singles rankings from Russian Daniil Medvedev.

“It’s the work of every day. It’s about accepting the challenge, it’s about being humble to accept that sometimes you are not playing that well. And you need to fight for it and you need to try to find a solution every day and that’s what I did,” Nadal said.

The match lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes, making it the longest best-of-three set ATP final since stats started being tracked in 1991. It was also the longest best-of-three ATP match so far this year.

It was Nadal’s seventh title in the last 10 editions of the Barcelona Open, and 12th in 16 editions. The tournament was not played last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nadal called it “probably the toughest final” he had to play in Barcelona.

“I never played a final like this in this tournament,” he said. “It means a lot to me. It was an important victory.”

Nadal improved his unbeaten record to 12-0 in finals at one of his favourite ATP events where the main showcourt carries his name.

The 20-times Grand Slam winner will be back in action at next month’s ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome and will look to carry the momentum into the French Open, where he will be seeking a record-extending 14th Roland Garros title.





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