Rafael Nadal claims Barcelona Open title after dramatic win against Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rafael Nadal saved a match point in a pulsating final against Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his 12th Barcelona Open title.
Nadal had only lost one set in 11 previous finals in Catalonia and had never lost a clay-court final having held a match point.
He had two in the second set but a combination of some uncharacteristic misses from the Spaniard and brilliant play from his opponent helped Tsitsipas turn the match around.
The Greek had his own chance to clinch back-to-back titles having won his maiden Masters crown in Monte-Carlo last week when he held match point at 5-4 in the decider.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 25, 2021
But Nadal dug deep, broke the Tsitsipas serve in the next game and battled his way to a 6-4 6-7 (6) 7-5 victory in three hours and 38 minutes.
Tsitsipas, who recovered from two sets down to beat the Spaniard at the Australian Open, made a brilliant start to the match, striking winners apparently at will, breaking Nadal’s serve and pushing for a second break.
But the Spaniard, as he has done so many times before, weathered the storm, began sewing doubt into his opponent’s mind by relentlessly targeting his backhand and turned the match around.
He won four games in a row from 2-4 to take the opening set, and then again came from a break down in the second set after Tsitsipas had regrouped well.
That took him to the brink of victory on the court named after him but Tsitsipas showed his own mettle to stay in the contest, recovering from 15-40 at 4-5 with two fine points, including a lovely touch volley winner on the second.
A topsy-turvy tie-break saw Nadal lead 4-2 then save two set points from 4-6 only to serve a double fault at 6-6 that helped Tsitsipas clinch it.
The third was serve dominated until 4-5, when Nadal wobbled on his own delivery, but ultimately it was the Spaniard who proved just the tougher.
“For me, the simple fact of being able to play in Barcelona after last year’s tournament wasn’t held means a lot to me,” Nadal told the crowd during the trophy ceremony.
“After almost a year of not being able to experience playing in front of a crowd, these are incredible feelings. I really appreciate the love and support you all have shown me throughout my career. Playing in my club and in front of fans means a lot.”
Major coup for Emilia-Romagna Open as Serena Williams changes plans and adds event to her schedule
Serena Williams off to Parma next week.
‘It was nice to see them back,’ says Novak Djokovic as fans return to watch him win at Italian Open
Another win for Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open.
Matteo Berrettini’s improvement paying off as Italian recaptures good form in 2021
Oli Jefford explains why Matteo Berrittini has the potential become one of the biggest names in tennis.
‘It’s just a matter of time’ before she will be ‘raring to go’ on clay, says Serena Williams
“It is what it is,” says Serena Williams.
Rafael Nadal gives his verdict on ‘complete player’ Jannik Sinner after Italian Open victory
“He’s still improving all the time,” says Nadal about Sinner.
‘It’s a special win,’ says Nadia Podoroska after upsetting Serena Williams at Italian Open
Williams was playing the 1,000 match of her career.
Andy Murray makes winning return alongside Liam Broady in doubles at Italian Open
Murray readying for potential singles comeback.
Simona Halep suffers tear in left calf and ‘unsure of recovery time’ with French Open around the corner
Simona Halep set for MRI on injured calf.
‘Please default me, it would be better for everybody,’ pleads Daniil Medvedev during Italian Open defeat
“I don’t wanna be here.” – Daniil Medvedev.
Serena Williams’ landmark 1,000th career match ends in defeat at the Italian Open
Williams suffered only her 149th defeat in 1,000 matches.