Rafael Nadal beats Tsitsipas, clinches 12th Barcelona Open title
Spanish maestro Rafael Nadal defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5 to win a record-extending 12th Barcelona Open title on Sunday. The top-seed saved one championship point at 4-5 (30/40) in the decider before winning three straight games. Nadal, who won his 61st tour-level title on clay, outclassed Tsitsipas in an intense battle that lasted three hours and 38 minutes. Here are the details.
A record 12th title for Nadal
This is the second tournament where Nadal has captured 12 or more titles. The Spaniard also holds a record 13 titles at the Roland Garros. With this, Nadal will return to number two in the ATP Rankings on Monday. Earlier, Daniil Medvedev had overtaken Nadal in the Rankings after winning the Open 13 tournament in Marseille. Nadal is set to reclaim his spot now.
How did the final pan out?
In the first set, Nadal recovered from 2-4, winning four consecutive games. He became the first player to take a set off Tsitsipas this year on clay. Nadal earned two championship points on Tsitsipas' serve at 5-4, however, the latter took the match to decider. Nadal then saved a championship point at 4-5 in the third set before winning the final.
Nadal wins Barcelona title after dropping more than one set
In a first, Nadal has lifted the Barcelona title after dropping more than one set (3). He also needed three sets in his opening two matches. Notably, Tsitsipas entered his second Barcelona final (0-2) with a 9-0 match record (17-0 sets) on clay in 2021.
A look at other feats attained by Nadal
Nadal extends his ATP head-to-head record against Tsitsipas to 7-2. The 20-time Grand Slam champion also beat Tsitsipas in the 2018 Barcelona final, where Tsitsipas made his debut in an ATP Tour championship match. Meanwhile, Nadal improved his unbeaten record to 12-0 in the Barcelona finals. He now owns a record 61 tour-level trophies on clay, 12 more than the second-placed Guillermo Vilas (49).
'Never played a final like this', says Nadal
After the win, Nadal 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, [after what] he achieved in Monte-Carlo and [that he reached] the final here without losing a set." "I've been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That's important for today."