Rafael Nadal has taken his legend even further as he has now won his 12th Barcelona Open title after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a game of three sets, 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-5, that took almost four hours. Nadal’s experience was needed as he defeated the player who knocked him out of the quarterfinals at Melbourne in February.
In the first set of the game, Nadal was losing 4-2 before breaking twice, eventually winning the round 6-4. But the younger player was not willing to go down without a fight as he saved two match points in the second round to win the set. This forced the game into a tie-break. In the final set, both players battled back and forth, until Tsitsipas lost a match point, eventually losing to Nadal.
Nadal’s Sunday victory comes 16 years after he won the title for the first time. In honour of his achievement at the competition, the court has now been named after him; Pista Rafa Nadal. Speaking after the event, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said, “I think I never played a final like this in this tournament, so it means a lot to me against a player like him, he achieved in Monte-Carlo and the final here without losing a set. It is an important victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That’s important for today. To have the trophy with me here at home means a lot, but at the same time for the future.”
The victory has also moved Nadal back to the number 2 position, right behind Serbian Novak Djokovic. Nadal has now won 87 ATP titles, 61 of those on a clay court. Nadal was absent for some competitions earlier this year due to an injury but he would participate in upcoming events in Madrid and Rome.
Written by: Leon Osamor