Barcelona Open 2021: Rafael Nadal wins 12th title after thrilling final against Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rafael Nadal of Spain is a record 20-time Grand Slam winner and is a joint holder of the record along with Switzerland's Roger Federer. He has also won a record 13 French Open titles, the most in the competition's history, while he is currently ranked second.
Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal has landed another accolade in his bag after winning the Barcelona Open 2021. He beat Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in a three-set thriller [6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5] at the Real Club de Tennis Barcelona on Sunday.
It was Nadal's 12th title win in the competition. Also, it is his second most successful tournament after French Open, having won record 13 titles in Paris.
The match turned out to be a thriller, as the opening set saw Nadal under severe pressure from Tsitsipas. Nonetheless, he saved five of the six break points and won four consecutive games to hand the Greek his first set loss of the year.
In the second set, the Spaniard recovered from a break to take it to the tie-breaker. However, the Greek utilised a double fault from Nadal to capitalise and take the game to the decider.
The final set turned out to be another thriller, as Nadal was facing his first break point of the game, which was a championship point. However, he saved the same, came up with some fine forehand shots and compelled Tsitsipas to force some errors, as a break he earned was enough to seal his 12th title.
"I think I never played a final like this in this tournament, so it means a lot to me against a player like him. He achieved in Monte-Carlo and the final here without losing a set. It is an important victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That's important for today. To have the trophy with me here at home means a lot, but at the same time for the future," said Nadal after the game.
"For me, the simple fact of being able to play in Barcelona after last year's tournament wasn't held means a lot to me. After almost a year of not being able to experience playing in front of a crowd, these are incredible feelings. I really appreciate the love and support you all have shown me throughout my career. Playing in my club and in front of fans means a lot," he concluded.
With this win, the Spaniard leads 7-2 over the Greek. The tournament was good practice for him ahead of his French Open title defence next month, as he eyes a record-extending 14th title in Paris and the record-breaking 21st Slam title.
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