The King of Clay and World No. 1, Rafael Nadal made short work of Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his 11th Barcelona Open championship. Fresh from his 11th Monte-Carlo title, he faced the Greek player at the historic Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.
Nadal showed no signs of any lingering effects of his 10-week break from injury, during the entire match.
Rafa has scored his 400th match-win on clay and reached a record 44 consecutive sets on clay. This record dates back to his 10th French Open victory last June. That year, he dropped just five games in a set only once.
Nadal’s primary objective is to defend his Barcelona title so that he can keep the No. 1 ranking.
Tsitsipas had nothing to lose against the reigning world number 1. The former junior No. 1 had a lot of promise since he joined the senior tour.
The 19 year old is the first ever male Greek player to break the top 100. He made the quarters in Doha and Dubai. He won his first main-tour clay match in Monte-Carlo last week. But in Barcelona, he really came into his own against some of the best clay-court players in the draw.
Some of his victims were Diego Schwartzman, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno Busta. He is the youngest player to reach the Barcelona final since Nadal himself in 2005.
But Nadal was unlike anyone Tsitsipas had faced before. The Greek youngster was stuck at the baseline and forced into more and more errors. Nadal broke again and then produced a smash behind his back to hold with ease. Tsitsipas could only hang on for one more game before Nadal took the set, 6-2.
He soon controlled the second set to lead 3-0. But Tsitsipas fought back briefly in the next game. The Spaniard recovered and was back to punishing his opponent.
Tsitsipas held serve just once, and then Nadal was champion after just 78 minutes for the loss of only three games, 6-1.
Rafa now has 11 Barcelona titles to add to his 11 in Monte-Carlo. This will be his 171st week as the reigning World number 1.