Rafael Nadal became the first player to win four titles this year when he defeated fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 to win the Barcelona Open for the eighth time in nine years on Sunday.
Since returning from a seven-month absence with a left knee injury in February, the world No. 5 has reached the final at all six events he has played, his Barcelona triumph adding to the victories in Sao Paulo, Acapulco and Indian Wells.
“I’m very happy. It has been an important week for all the Spanish players here and especially for me,” Nadal told Spanish television. “It is an enormous honor for me to win here again.”
Having lost his Monte Carlo Masters crown to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday last week, Nadal was on the back foot again against Almagro in a shaky opening.
The fourth seed made a whirlwind start, breaking Nadal’s first two service games in cloudy, drizzly conditions on the clay of the Real Club de Tenis.
Nadal battled back with three breaks of serve to take the first set, lifting the rain-soaked crowd with one particularly intense rally which he eventually won after playing a shot backwards between his legs.
The French Open champion broke again early in the second set and steadily pulled away to secure a 10th successive victory over his compatriot and a 39th consecutive win in Barcelona.
“Nico started really strongly and it was very difficult at the start. The conditions were tough for both of us,” second seed Nadal said. “It didn’t start very well for me, but luckily I was able to get the very important break at 3-0 down. I’m pleased for Nico for his great week. He’s having a great season and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Almagro was able to make light of his defeat when asked about how he had started the match like a motorbike.
He laughed and said: “Yes, well the motorbike got stuck in the rain.”
“Rafa has shown once again why he is the best player in history on this surface. He is one of the greats on the tennis circuit and as Spaniards we are all very proud of him,” Almagro said. “I got a good start, but the surface was tricky, though that cannot serve as an excuse — Rafa was the fair winner. I’ll have another go next year and try to win it then, if Rafa lets me.”
BRD NASTASE TIRIAC
Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic beat Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-2 to win the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy for his first ATP title on Sunday.
Rosol completed an impressive run in brushing aside Garcia-Lopez in 67 minutes, converting four of his nine break points to secure the victory in a final between two unseeded players.
The No. 48-ranked Rosol overcame three seeded players, including three-time champion Giles Simon of France, the No. 2 seed, in the semi-finals on his way to the final.
He saved all eight break points he faced to end Simon’s 16-match winning streak at the clay-court event.
Garcia-Lopez struggled to keep up with the 27-year-old Rosol a day after he defeated 2011 champion Florian Mayer in three sets to earn a place in the final.