Resurgent Rafael Nadal Wins Barcelona, Ties Guillermo Vilas’ All-Time Clay Mark
by Staff | April 24th, 2016, 4:44 pm
  • 69 Comments

Rafael Nadal, it is safe to say, has put his troubles on clay behind him.


The Spaniard won his second title of the year, and second in a row after the Masters Monte Carlo, defeating two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5 in the final of the Barcelona Open BancSabadell in Spain where he didn’t lose a set all week.

Nadal took back the crown from Nishikori for his ninth career Barcelona title, also tying Guillermo Vilas for the most career claycourt titles with 49.

“There were a lot of chances for both of us but I think I have been solid,” Nadal said. “When you play against players with such a high level, the match is often decided by a few moments. So I feel happy that I handled all these important moments well mentally.”

In the first set Nadal broke for a 3-1 lead, then after Nishikori evened it, broke at 5-4 to claim the set. In the second Nadal ran to a 4-1 lead before Japan’s No. 1 evened it at 4-4, then the Spaniard secured the late break, claiming victory on his second match point.

Nadal and all the top ATP players next move on to the Madrid Masters, which the Spaniard last won in 2014-13. And after just one Top 40 win the first three months of the season, Nadal has won seven this month alone during his 10-match win streak.

“I’m very happy because besides this being one of the most important tournaments that I have won, this is another week that I am playing very well,” Nadal said. “These have been two fantastic weeks, weeks I have been striving for for a long time.”

The former No. 1 is also the only player to win nine titles at an event in the Open Era, and now he has done it at Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Roland Garros. Roger Federer has won eight titles during his career at Halle, as did Vilas at Buenos Aires.

“I have been working so hard to enjoy moments like this,” Nadal said. “The fact that I’m playing at home is always even more special.”

Nishikori, who had won 14 straight matches in Barcelona, fell to 11-7 in career finals and 1-9 against Nadal.

“It’s a great start to the clay court season. Even though I lost today I gained some confidence,” said Nishikori. “He’s playing another good level of tennis. But also I gave away too many opportunities. And if I could get a couple more points on those important points, maybe the game changes a little bit.

“He also gives me a lot of pressure. Every point, he gets every ball, so it’s not easy to win points against him.”

ATP Clay Titles Leaders (Open Era)
Guillermo Vilas 49
Rafael Nadal 49
Thomas Muster 40
Bjorn Borg 30
Manuel Orantes 30


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69 Comments for Resurgent Rafael Nadal Wins Barcelona, Ties Guillermo Vilas’ All-Time Clay Mark

Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/sittanyusha/status/724329091512438784
Rafa jumps in the pool. Traditional in Barcelona


chrisford1 Says:

Madrid, Rome, and likely the French Open got more interesting. Radal coming back in form, something “off” about Djokovics appearances recently, Andy getting a bit anxious, I think, to show 2012 and 2013 were not flukes.
BTW – As part of that drug testing flap, Novak confirmed he was going to be in Madrid because he planned on going ahead and doing hitting practice with Andy, no problem at all…and he will be in Rome because Novak loves the tournament and city and fans there.
Stan is erratic, we will see about Nish and Thiem and all as well as Euroclay builds to the FO.


jane Says:

here i go, keeping with tradition…
congrats to rafa and his nice fans on here.

i think “9, 9, 9″ looks very nice and thus i hope it doesn’t change to 10 at the french ;)


Wog Boy Says:

Congrats to almost all Rafa fans here, he is favorite now for FO, no doubt about.

Daniel,

From another thread, you said Rafa has beaten now all players who has beaten him in last 12 months or so but Nole and Roger, he is yet to beat them according to you. It is little bit over stretching to put Nole and Roger in the same equation when it comes to Rafa, how many times exactly Roger beat Rafa in last 12/24 months? Even on his favorite Basel surface it took him three sets to beat 70/80% Rafa.
Sorry to tell you and other Roger fans this, but after watching Roger carefully (I always watch him carefully) this year, Brisbane, AO, MC, plus Holywood and Miami I think that this is about it, that last wind that was pushing him in 2013/14 has been tamed in AO SF, and Roger is feeling it. He lost very average Tsonga in MC and for the first time since I am watching him, he looked old and just out of place and very grumpy. He is avoiding clay and preparing for the last hurrah at WB, Olympics and USO, he has lot of points to defend but I don’t see him making top 10 by the end of the year, good thing is that it is all gravy for him anyway, though he wanted desperately to go out with a bang but it looks like he will be going out with whimper at the end of the year.
I hope he doesn’t make me eat my words;)


Wog Boy Says:

^^ make that 2014/15


elina Says:

WB, he writes more about Rafa than Roger anyways.

However there is not much doubt that Nole is still the odds on favourite at RG at 4/5. Rafa is second as a 3/1 underdog.

Fed is 5th at 25/1 against.


Daniel Says:

Agree Wog Boy, I only mention Djoko and Fed because against all others top players Nadal got a payback win.

I didn’t put them in a same level of effort from Nadal,just naming the 2 left.

Fed just got 1 win (last against Nadal) while Djoko got 6 straight, no comparison at all. Just that Nadal beating Fed again (even if some consider a foregone conclusion) would make wonders for his confidence, he respect Fed and always brings his A game against him so him winning again will show that he can access that A game more often than not.

I too feels this may be Fed last year, maybe next year if he officially makes farewell tour.


Daniel Says:

elina,

You truly are obsessed with me, Jesz I am starting to get a bit scared as I gave my instagram account here before;-)


Humble Rafa Says:

I am honored that this great forum will have a Humble story after winning a title for the 9th time. It feels good. My trust in humanity is re-established.


elina Says:

LOL danny by your own logic then, if Rafa read here he would be absolutely terrorized by your obsession, wouldn’t he so it can’t be all bad?


Okiegal Says:

@Jane……you being a loyal fan of Novak have received lots of congratulatory messages for a while now….you are paying it forward and I thank you for that!

@Wog Boy Am I in the group of “almost all of Rafa’s fans?”…..if I am, thanks!! I’m so happy regarding Rafa’s game atm!


Pauly Says:

Very close match
Good quality tennis but Nadal’s defensive tennis was too good frustrating Nishikori who was certainly not disgraced
Madrid Rome will be interesting so will Paris
Would be wonderful to see Nadal lift one more trophy at Roland Garros


Wog Boy Says:

Okie,

You certanly are:)


Okiegal Says:

thanks, Wog….


Daniel Says:

elina,

Nadal is a public figure, he has to deal with you crazy people in the world. I am just a regular joe not used to this kind of “attention”. But in a way, it’s kind of flattering, so thank you! Serious, enough already;-)


Markus Says:

And in the famous words of Yogi Berra, ” It’s like deja vu all over again.”

Everything’s coming up roses to Nadal and his fans. Roses do grow and bloom better on clay. Congrats!


elina Says:

Let me get this straight Dan. You post about 50 times during a match with Nadal who you admit to dislike and I’m the ” crazy people.” That’s quite a reach. Not quite a normal joe exactly?

Agreed though enough already. ;-)


Daniel Says:

elina,

I always said I like tennis first and if today there qas quality tennis going on between the king of clay and Kei who I happen to like as well. I will watch. Also, Nadal is a phenomenon ok clay and even tough I don’t like his game i know jow hard it is to do what ge does.

I type during matches that I watch live quite a lot for Djoko, Fed, Murray, DelPo and many others. If you were here long enough you shoupd not that I do this a lot and somenposters enjoy, because not everybody is able to watch. if you don’t your problem.

I am more into coming here to diacuss tennis with other knowledgeable tennis lovers, not bockering back and forth like high school juniors, too old for that. Peace out.


AndyMira Says:

@Daniel..you if you post a 1000th times during any match,i will keep reading it..i love your analysis of ANY matches..so please keep doing it..IT’S VERY OKAY WITH ME…


AndyMira Says:

And daniel,you’re right,i can’t watch the 1st set last night..and between follow livescores and your analysis..it’s enough..


Daniel Says:

Thanks AndyMira, mission acomplished.

I also like to read when I am unanle to watch and only chevk live scores, which doesn’t do the match justice.

See you soon in Madrid, or when the draw is out on Friday.


AndyMira Says:

Ok Daniel..


Van Persie Says:

Congrats AndyMira and other Rafa fans.
Well, it seams that Rafa has good chances for a 10 RG


Michael Says:

Rafa has peaked at the right moment and so far has had a wonderful Clay court season. However, his real test will come in Madrid and Rome when he will be pitted against Novak.

A resurgent Rafa against the indomitable Novak would be one dazzling spectacle to watch which must be probably the greatest rivalry in Sport and there is no greater feast for a Tennis enthusiast for a Tennis Fan than to watch this two Gladiators on the Court confronting one another !!


AndyMira Says:

Thank you VP..how are you darling?


Van Persie Says:

AM,

Am at work, so I will not be able to chat.
I hope U are ok…well, I guess you are more than ok now, that Rafa is threatening with his domination on clay courts again ;)

Am off now, wish U a great day :)


roy Says:

last year was the best chance novak had of winning rg since he came on tour. he was having his best season, nadal was having his worst clay season for about a decade and federer got knocked out. and he couldn’t do it. that wouldn’t help his demons.

this year, nadal will be significantly tougher, murray is now a clay threat to a degree and there are guys like nishikori and thiem who are now becoming clay threats too.

maybe he just wins it anyway. but if you were his coaching staff, i think you’d be getting a little concerned, particularly with the 1st round loss to a non contender in mc.


AndyMira Says:

It’s alright VP..i understand..


J-Kath Says:

I congratulated all Rafa’s fans collectively, with genuine enthusiasm, on another thread…on this thread I’ve had a chuckle at Jane’s “9,9,9″ comment and Wogboy “…..but after watching Roger carefully (I always watch him carefully)”……

Good start for the morning and it’s bright sunshine here too.


danica Says:

Way to go Rafa!!! Big congrats to his fans ;).

I am really eager to see how this clay season is going to unfold. Rafa is back to where his reign is undisputed while Novak lost his first match of the clay season. This makes it quite interesting! The masters in Rome will probably be the best indicator of who the main RG favorite is.


danica Says:

Roy,

Nole lost fair and square in MC but I can hardly give it a thought. He has just came from the US where he played two back to back HC masters events and won. I don’t expect even from him to overcome the jet lag and adjust to clay in a matter of a week.

Besides, I do not think he expected much from MC anyway. After the Miami win, he said something like: “That’s where I live, that’s a home tournament and I will be there”. Almost like “I will appear but that’s it”. He usually plays two clay tournaments before RG and this year he is quite committed to Madrid where he want to mend some bad relations.

I say that it will be sweeter if he gets the RG this year because the competition will be tougher.

My apologies, this post is longer than I intended and it is a Rafa thread so I will stop here.


Wog Boy Says:

Why do have a feeling that everyone else is more concerned about Nole winning FO than his fans and Nole (and his team) himself? Even Roger is trying to put pressure on Nole by saying this yesterday:

——
“[The] King of clay is Rafa,” Federer said. “He is the tennis player to beat. Novak’s never won in Paris. Maybe now he’s the favorite, but Nadal is Nadal. I am happy of what he showed to those, who did not believe that he could win in Monte Carlo.”
——-
Again, why do I have a feeling that Roger doesn’t want Nole to win FO..?


danica Says:

Sure he doesn’t. Winning FO would make Nole a premier clay court player, second only to Rafa (in this era).


Wog Boy Says:

But Danica, is that in a spirit of Edberg award..?


Margot Says:

Kei really needs a serve that will win him some cheap points. Reminds me of Hewitt who had a rubbish serve, same problem.
Given Kei can whip his back hand like billyo, I’m surprised he hasn’t developed a whipping serve, just like Dolgopolov, who is small and slight but who has a most trixy serve.


Green Lady Says:

Wogboy lol, surely your reading too much into this, IMO it sounds like Rogers putting pressure on Rafa not Novak, knowing if Rafa wins RG hes in touching distance of his 17 GS, but then again maybe reading too much into it ? ….


Wog Boy Says:

GL,

We’ll agree that he doesn’t want either of them to win FO, how about that?


elina Says:

Dan, i answered your post 2.5 hrs later and you replied 9 minutes later including the time to write you post? Telling.

Who’s obsessed with who again?


elina Says:

The pressure is on the perceived favourite in sports.

Regardless there is no doubt in my mind that the pressure is on Novak. That said, he has become very comfortable in that role since hiring Boris.


Green Lady Says:

LOL elina We were on a break no we werent ? lol, except now its elina and Daniel, rather than elina and Skeezer ;-)) ….


Pauly Says:

Djokovic is still favourite to win all the majors
Nothing has changed for him
But the only change is that Nadal is playing much better
Whether he can beat Djokovic is still big question mark
Biggest problem for Nadal is mental block against Djokovic
Must overcome that
Interesting Madrid & Rome awaits


Green Lady Says:

Wogboy lol, maybe hes putting pressure on both, so he can try and win it again, but again im probably reading too much into it ? ….


Green Lady Says:

If Rafas feeling more confident about his game, it might be a good time to take on Novak, i like Rafa to have a challenge, but having said that im not stupid either ;-)) ….


Green Lady Says:

Jalep if your reading, from the other thread, im curious as youve actually met Skeezer face to face, what does he look like then ? ….

Not that looks are everything, but wouldnt it be great to have faces to go with monikors ? ….


Pauly Says:

Nadal can’t tire out Djokovic
That’s why their matches are so even when both players are at their best
But of course Nadal at Roland Garros is different beast
Can’t wait for them to play soon


Green Lady Says:

Any chance that Nadal gets in the funk now tennis-x staff ? ….


senorita Says:

elina Says:

However there is not much doubt that Nole is still the odds on favourite at RG at 4/5. Rafa is second as a 3/1 underdog.

***********************************
For the past 5 years since 2011 Nole has been the out and out favourite for RG and in those 5 years, Rafa has won it 4 times and Stan has won it once…….Nole nil times!
Nole beat a 50% diffident Rafa for the first time there last year, so I won’t hold my breath about Nole being the outright favourite.


Okiegal Says:

@Green Lady…..You need to get on Facebook. It really is a neat thing. You would have access to your FB friends photos. I love being a member. They say it is simple to do…..I would have no idea whether it is or not, my daughter in law set mine up. Took her about 5 minutes. You might consider it. I read VP and AndyMira’s comments about FB the other day….social media has it’s good points.


AndyMira Says:

Hi Okie..since u mentioned my name and FB..can i add u as my friend?Actually i want to do that a long time now..but a little bit shy to ask about it..or u can look for me..it’s MIRA ANDI..and it has a picture of sunset..


elina Says:

senorita, your information is incorrect.

Nadal was the oddsmakers favourite prior to the start of the French Open in 2011, 2012, 2013.


Daniel Says:

Wog Boy,

We can’t know if Roger doesn’t want Novak to win RG or not, but I remember Nadal saying that he cried when Roger won RG in 2009, fo you think he “wanted” Roger to win there?!
So, in a way, they don’t want their rivals to win the tournaments they cherrish the most.

Elina,

That was the time I was checking this blog at night. By the way, I type fast hence the many typos. You are the one keep getting after my post again and again. Think you check my insta and like what you saw. When you come to Rio let me know.


gonzalowski Says:

With this victory, Nadal has now a 91,79% perc. of wins in all his clay matches.
Important win over Nishikori, who had been trainig at home (Florida) the prior week, and arrived Barcelona on thursday to prepare the event.
(As a socio-political curiosity) At the final ceremony, Nadal answered on catalonian when they spoke to him so, but he then made the speech on spanish… good detail to spanish fans :)


Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira….yes you can…..it is my late husband’s account…..Byron Rowsey in Oklahoma. I would be . delghted to have a Rafa fan on my friend’s list.


jane Says:

but daniel i remember rafa saying how happy he was that fed won it? those were tears of joy apparently:”Said Nadal of Federer: “He deserved to win all four slams.”

what’s interesting is how close rafa will get to breaking/tying fed’s record, should he win roland garros.. it’ll put him within 2 slams!

it doesn’t seem to bother fed though; he’s quite enamoured with rafa. ; )


AndyMira Says:

Oh thank u Okie..u just wait.i’ll be knocked on your door in a second okay?


Okiegal Says:

OK, AM, I will answer…..but use the doorbell, it is much louder…..want to be sure I can hear you,
my dear!! Lol 😊😊


RZ Says:

Very fitting that the King of Clay now has the clay court titles record (even if it is shared…for now).


Okiegal Says:

@Daniel, Jane is right….he cried for happy! He certainly didn’t want Robin Soderling to win…..end of story!!

There was a time when Rafa and Roger had a mutual administration society…..they were very congenial with one another. I think that is not the case anymore…..but having said that, Rafa is still at the top of Roger’s like list over Novak. Roger doesn’t seem to like him or his family at all.


Okiegal Says:

^^^^^Oopsy…..admiration society….should say…


RZ Says:

@Okie – they were both on the ATP board together for a while so you could say they had a mutual administration society. :-)

Seems like no one wants to believe that the top guys actually get along and admire each other. They can do so while disagreeing on some issues. In terms of Rafa and Roger not being as congenial, I think it’s just a case that we don’t see as many promotions and such with the two of them anymore that would lend to that view.


AndyMira Says:

Okie..which part of Oklahoma you’re in because there’s so many that was listed..there’s..Tulsa,Norman,Lawton,Edmond,Broken Arrow,Enid,Stillwater and Moore..oh one more thing..in the picture,are you wearing a spectacles and photographed with your husband who also wears a spectacles?[i think.it's not clear]


AndyMira Says:

It also said he went to Allen High School..is that right?


AndyMira Says:

It also said he went to Allen High School..is that right?


Okiegal Says:

That is the one…..Allen, Oklahoma….there will be a pic of he and I. He has white hair and moustache……


Daniel Says:

Agree, Fed and Djoko definetly don’t like each other, they tolerare and respect one another but each other is not on the other top list at all.

I think is not like Fed doesn’t want Djoko to win RG at one point more like no player whats another player specially when they are still palying winning all 4 majors in succession.
Remember Wawa comments a while back regarding Novak not winning all 4 this year. It had nothing to do with liking or not, more like we (they players) will try to stop the particular player. It doesn’t look good for other top players.


Okiegal Says:

AM…..we both wear 👓!! 😎😎


AndyMira Says:

Okie..i already knocked on your door..please open up!


Okiegal Says:

You know by now I did…..had to go to town and have my blood drawn…..didn’t mean to ignore you….🆗

Top story: Rafael Nadal Withdraws From China Events, Novak Djokovic In Prime Position For No. 1