BARCELONA, April 24, 2016
Rafael Nadal notches a record 49th clay court title, winning Sunday’s final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 6-4, 7-5 against two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori.
The top-seed from Spain saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced, converting five of his own to seal victory in two hours and four minutes. With his 49th title on the dirt, he drew level with Guillermo Vilas atop the Open Era list.
The title is Nadal’s first Barcelona championship since 2013. He had previously prevailed from 2005-09 and 2011-13. Nadal has now won three tournaments nine times: Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Roland Garros.
“It was a very close match… There were a lot of chances for both of us but I think I have been solid,” the champion told afterwards.
“When you play against players with this very, very high level, the match is often decided by a few moments. So I feel happy that I handled all these important moments well mentally.
“I have been working so hard to enjoy moments like this. The fact that I’m playing at home is always even more special. I’m very happy and I feel lucky to enjoy this again.”
Nishikori was obviously disapointed but could also take some positives from the week.
“It’s a great start to the clay court season. Even though I lost today I gained some confidence,” the world number six from Japan said.
“He’s playing another good level of tennis. But also I gave away too many opportunities. And if I could get a couple more points on those important points, maybe the game changes a little bit.
“He also gives me a lot of pressure. Every point, he gets every ball, so it’s not easy to win points against him.”
Earlier the day, Bob and Mike Bryan captured the doubles title, winning 7-5, 7-5 over Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers in one hour and 25 minutes. The US-twins enjoyed the tradional jump into the pool afterwards.
“We feel like we’re starting to play some really great tennis again. This week we put together four quality matches against some really tough teams. Barcelona has a special place in our hearts because this is where we tied the Gullicksons’ record for most brother titles in 2003. We’ve really enjoyed our time in this beautiful city and hope to be back next year,” Mike told.
“It was a hard-fought match against two experienced clay court players. We saved a few break points late in the second set, which was pivotal. Today the luck was on our side. We’re heading back to Miami next week and this win will definitely make the flight a lot less painful,” added Bob Bryan.