His First back to back tournament wins since 2013.
BARCELONA, SPAIN- Rafael Nadal claimed his ninth Barcelona Open title with a straight sets victory over defending champion Kei Nishikori.
The Spaniard was able to break at the end of both sets to secure a 6-4, 7-5 victory in a little over two hours on court. The victory secured Nadal’s 49th clay court title, equalling Guillermo Vilas’ record.
It was a match littered with 28 break point opportunities, but the difference in the end was Nadal was able to take five of them compared to Nishikori’s three.
The top seed earned the first break of the match, but the Japanese player broke straight back. Nishikori squandered a 0-40 chance to break serve at 3-3 before being broken for the second time at the end of the set.
The pair exchanged breaks of serve again at the start of the second, then Nadal earned a break at 2-1 to move closer to the title. However, Nishikori remained in the match by breaking back and saving numerous break points the following game.
At 5-4 Nadal earned Championship point, but the second seed remained headstrong by saving it with a drop shot winner. At 6-5, the Spaniard would earn another Championship point which this time he converted as Nishikori netted a forehand.
It is back to back titles for the former world number one who won the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters a week a go. After a struggling 2015, Nadal is seemingly creeping back towards his best in time for clay season and the build up to Roland Garros.
”I was playing against the number six player in the world, and if you don’t play at your best you aren’t going to win,” Nadal said.
”I served well and that allowed me to play better. In the second set I missed several chances, and at the end it was very close, but I stayed mentally strong.”
Nadal and Nishikori have both entered the Mutua Madrid Open which starts in one weeks time.
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