“Have to Accept the Challenge”: Rafael Nadal After His Monumental Victory Over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Barcelona Open Final

Published 04/26/2021, 12:30 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea


Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal claimed his 12th Barcelona Open crown after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic three-set thriller 6-4,6-7(6),7-5, in the longest match of this year so far on the ATP tour.

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After an unexpected loss to Andrey Rublev at the Monte-Carlo Masters earlier this month, Nadal was looking for his maiden clay-court title this year at the Barcelona Open.

Victories against quality players helped Rafael Nadal win the Barcelona title

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The Spaniard, who is yet to return to his best on clay, showed glimpses of his mastery on the red-turf with victories against Kei Nishikori, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Ilya Ivashka before reaching the final.

The match was a roller-coaster ride with fans backing Rafael Nadal every time there was a dip in his game. But Tsitsipas made a tremendous comeback after losing the first set 4-6. Tsitsipas was courageous in the second set where he managed to save a couple of match points on his service game before winning the set in a tie-breaker.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea

With the match leveled at one set each, the final set became a show of power where both Nadal and Tsitsipas played their best service games in the entire tournament. It was the Greek who had a match point when Nadal was serving at 4-5 in the third.

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But the Greek failed to convert the match point opportunities he had as Nadal produced his A-game at the right moment. What followed was a debacle from Tsitsipas as he lost his immediate service game, allowing Nadal to serve out the match.

“It’s an important victory for the future”- Nadal

With this victory, the Spaniard moves to number two in the men’s singles rankings to be released on Monday.

Speaking after that excruciating victory, Nadal reflected on the positives that he took from his disappointing run at the Monte-Carlo Masters. “I have made progress all week. It’s an important victory for the future. It’s a daily job. You have to accept the challenge, be humble to accept not always to play well, fight to find solutions. Nothing can be accomplished otherwise,” Nadal commented.

(Quotes have been translated with Google Translate)

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas pose with their trophies after the final REUTERS/Albert Gea

The Barcelona victory is Nadal’s 61st clay-court title and 87th ATP tour title, overall. This victory puts Rafael Nadal right at the top in the list of contenders for the French Open.

Also, there was a lot to gain for Stefanos Tsitsipas from this match. He had shown incredible self-belief in winning the second set. While he is known to have a few outbursts on-court when things don’t go his way on-court, it was a different Tsitsipas the tennis world witnessed today. He proved that he is a big-match player, and can be a vital prospect in the upcoming Grand Slams.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

101 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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