Nadal takes Barcelona Open title with Tsitsipas demolition
AGENCIES BARCELONA, 29th Apr: Rafael Nadal claimed yet another clay title with a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The world No 1 - dubbed the ‘King of Clay’ - has now won this title a staggering 11 times.
And the Spaniard hardly looked troubled against 19-year-old Greek sensation Tsitsipas on his first ATP final of his burgeoning career.
Rain caused disruption to the beginning of the match as the court was made soggy and heavy, causing the ball to bounce much less.
Both players hit a number of shots into the net as they struggled to judge the bounce.
Tsitsipas held the first game but the duo were soon called off court to shelter from the weather.
Within a few minutes the sky cleared and both players remerged trying to find their rhythm. As soon as the sun began to dry the dirt then Nadal began to crank through the gears.
The Spaniard hit a number of spectacular shots - the pick of the bunch a delightful one-handed volley while facing the back of the court - on his way to winning his 45th consecutive set on clay.
The 30-year-old then stormed through the second set by breaking twice and taking the first four games.
It looked for all the world that Tsitsipas would be on the receiving end of a bagel but he produced a spirited late resurgence. The world No 63 held serve in the fifth before wasting three break points in the sixth - his best chance to get back into the tie.
Nadal by then was in cruise control as he secured his 46th consecutive clay set with relative ease to wrap up the title.
Next up for Nadal is the Madrid Masters at the start of May as he continues his preparations for the French Open.