The King of Clay is apparently back to form.
It seemed miraculous last week when Rafael Nadal became the only player in Open Era history to win 10 titles at one tournament when he did it at Monte Carlo.
On Sunday Nadal repeated the feat at Barcelona, defeating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 for his 10th career title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Improving to 10-0 career in Barcelona finals, he won his 71st career title and 51st on clay.
“Playing in front of my crowd and my club and winning a 10th title here is something that’s impossible to even dream of,” Nadal said. “It’s very special and unique. I played my best match of the tournament this afternoon against probably the toughest opponent in the tournament, so I’m very happy.”
On an overcast day, Nadal took advantage of the heavy conditions to bounce it up high to the Thiem backhand. The Austrian lost serve at 4-5, then his confidence tumbled as he succumbed quickly in the second set.
“It was a close first set and a good quality of tennis,” said Nadal. “Anything could have happened, but then I started playing at a very high level in the second set and Dominic probably started making a few more mistakes.”
Nadal was only broken twice in 47 service games throughout the week and has won 20 of 21 sets thus far on the European claycourt swing. He has already made the finals at five events this year.
Thiem fell to 8-4 in career ATP finals, having won Rio de Janiero earlier this year.
“He was hitting to my backhand and I couldn’t really come out of it,” said Thiem. “The next time I play him I have to change something. He didn’t hit many unforced errors and give me any free points.”
Thiem in the semifinals earned his first victory against a world No. 1 when he defeated Andy Murray.
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