Rafael Nadal continued his clay-court dominance by collecting a record-extending 11th title in Barcelona on Sunday.
His 6-2 6-1 victory over Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas enabled the Spaniard to hold onto his world No 1 ranking as he chalked up his 19th successive win on clay and he has now won 46 consecutive sets on the red dirt, extending his own record.
The 31-year-old won his 11th Monte Carlo Masters last weekend while Sunday’s victory also reinforced his status as the overwhelming favourite to lift the French Open for the 11th time in June.
His win on Sunday was greeted by ticker-tape and a video review of all his titles on the centre court in Barcelona which now bears his name.
It’s really emotional to see that video. I never dreamed of having a career like this, said the 16-time Grand Slam title winner. Last year, they made a video of my 10 titles here. Now they have had to make another video for 11 – it makes me feel like I am ageing.
Thanks to everyone for making the tournament so special and thanks to my family who have been with me even when things have not been so smooth.
Tsitsipas, ranked 63rd, was the first Greek player to reach an ATP final since 1973 when Nicholas Kalogeropoulos made the final of the now defunct Des Moines Open. The 19-year-old was also the youngest player to reach the Barcelona final since Nadal did so in 2005 aged 18.
But the youngster, who has enjoyed the best week of his fledgling career, was unable to trouble the clay-court master as Nadal bulldozed his way to another title in just 78 minutes.
Tsitsipas, the second youngest player in the top 100 behind Canadian Denis Shapovalov, found success with a few of the flashy shots that have marked him out as one to watch in more than one sense.
But he could not find the consistency to offer more than a fleeting challenge to Nadal, whose next goal will be the Madrid Masters, where he has only won five titles.
Italy’s Marco Cecchinato claimed his maiden ATP Tour title with a 7-5 6-4 victory over John Millman in the Hungarian Open final.
Coverage of the ATP Madrid Open gets under way on Sky Sports Arena on Monday, May 7 from 11am.
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