Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Nadal defeats compatriot to claim Barcelona Open

DOMINANT Rafael Nadal has won 103 out of 104 matches he has played on clay since 2005, improving his record at the Real club in the Catalan capital to 21-1

AFP , BARCELONA, SPAIN

Rafael Nadal serves to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer during the final of the Barcelona Open at the Real club in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday. Nadal won the title for the fourth consecutive time.

PHOTO: AFP

Rafael Nadal needed a rally after losing his only set so far of the clay season, overcoming David Ferrer 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to lift a fourth straight Barcelona Open title on Sunday.

The tight victory in two hours, 14 minutes sends Spain’s king of clay halfway down the road to duplicating a four-event winning streak from a year ago on his favorite surface.

“The first set I played almost perfect, but he was very strong in the second set,” Nadal said. “I’m pleased to have won in Barcelona again.”

Seven days after defeating Roger Federer to win in Monte Carlo Nadal followed up with a popular triumph in the Catalan capital.

Nadal improved his record at the Real club to 21-1, his lone loss coming in 2003. The victory came in his third all-Spanish final at the event, after beating Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo in a pair of previous editions. The all-but-unstoppable Spaniard will head immediately into a third straight week of high-stakes duelling with a Rome title defence.

Nadal widened his margin atop the ATP with a leading 32 match victories and two titles. He has won 103 of 104 clay matches since spring 2005.

His match with dogged retriever Ferrer was domainted early by the top seed, with Nadal breaking three times in a 31 minute first set.

But Ferrer refused to roll over as he broke in the first game of the second to make a match of it.

Nadal went into fightback mode, salvaging four break points in a torrid seventh game, and broke to level at four games apiece.

That only inspired Ferrer, winner of the Valencia title last month, with the second seed re-breaking and serving out the set to bring on a deciding third.

Nadal put things right with an early break to sweep through with ease in the deciding set.

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