Rafael Nadal saved a championship level to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 7-5 on Sunday and declare a twelfth Barcelona Open title within the ATP’s longest match of 2021. The Spaniard secured his first title of the yr and 87th of his profession, denying Tsitsipas back-to-back triumphs following his maiden Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo final week. Nadal avenged his Australian Open quarter-final loss to Tsitsipas and can return to second within the ATP rankings on Monday by climbing again above Daniil Medvedev after his marathon 3-hour 38-minute win.
“It means so much for me to play the ultimate right here and win… I improved my degree throughout the week and this trophy means so much,” stated Nadal.
Nadal redeemed himself after a shock quarter-final exit in Monte Carlo, however the three units dropped en path to the title represented essentially the most in any of his wins right here.
“It is an on a regular basis job, accepting the problem, staying humble when generally you do not play as effectively and it’s important to battle to search out options day-after-day,” he added.
No man has gained extra matches this yr than Tsitsipas (26) however the 22-year-old has misplaced all seven finals on the ATP 500 degree.
“Rafa, bravo. What number of is that, 28? 28 Barcelona titles just isn’t unhealthy,” joked Tsitsipas.
“I am actually jealous. However you have earned it. You are one of many largest opponents in our sport, I am certain you realize that,” he added.
Second seed Tsitsipas, a Roland Garros semi-finalist in 2020, had gained all 17 units on clay this season and entered the ultimate unbeaten on the floor in 9 matches.
The Greek constructed up a 4-2 lead within the opening set after breaking Nadal within the third recreation however dropped his serve twice in succession because the 20-time Grand Slam champion hit again to win 4 video games in a row.
Fifth-ranked Tsitsipas, who gained simply three video games when the pair met within the 2018 remaining, once more procured an early break in set two however Nadal responded to haul himself degree at 3-all.
Nadal did not convert two match factors as Tsitsipas clung on to carry when trailing 5-4, with the Spaniard saving three break factors within the very subsequent recreation.
Nadal took a 4-2 lead within the tiebreak however the momentum swung again in direction of Tsitsipas as he gained 4 straight factors, blowing two set factors earlier than forcing a decider on the third try after a double fault from his opponent.
In sharp distinction, the third set went on serve and not using a single break alternative till Tsitsipas edged to inside a degree of the title with Nadal on the ropes serving at 4-5.
Nadal survived although and at last transformed his fourth break probability within the following recreation, snuffing out a Tsitsipas break level within the remaining recreation earlier than clinching his 61st clay-court title.
His 12 Barcelona victories are second solely to his 13 Roland Garros trophies.