World number one Rafael defeated compatriot David Ferrer in straight sets in the final of the Barcelona Open.
The victory in the Catalan derby was Nadal’s sixth victory in the event in seven years. He produced one of his trademark displays of power hitting, seamless defence and high energy to defeat Ferrer for a title in back-to-back weeks. Nadal has shown his dominance on clay again this season and has now beaten Ferrer in straight finals having overcome Ferrer in Monte Carlo last week.
It was the third time in four years that the two Spaniards have met in the Barcelona final, with Nadal coming out on top on the previous occasions in the 2008 and 2009 finals. Nadal has been imperious again on the clay surfaces after he won his seventh straight Monte Carlo masters title last week.
Nadal, who lost only 15 games in his run to the final, took one hour and forty-nine minutes to see off the fourth seeded Ferrer. Nadal saw off both Roger Federer and the in-form Gael Monfils on route to the title.
He broke Ferrer’s serve three times in the opening set, particularly punishing a fragile second serve from Ferrer, winning seven of the eight points on it. However, Nadal wouldn’t have it all his own way as Ferrer battled back in the second set from two games to love down to go ahead 4-2.
It would prove to be only a brief respite as Nadal broke back immediately before levelling the set. Nadal then broke Ferrer’s serve for a sixth time to set up his victory.
After the win, Nadal had some words of encouragement for his compatriot, saying:
“It’s incredible to come back here to my tournament and my fans after not being able to play last year,”
“I am very, very happy for the win and sorry for David, who is having a fantastic year and deserves a title,” he added.
“Its bad luck for him having to play me in three finals but it’s my sixth title here and it’s a huge delight.”
The 24-year-old now has 31 clay court titles, putting him one clear of Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes on the all-time list and third behind Guillermo Vilas (45) and Thomas Muster (40).