© Reuters. ATP 500 – Barcelona Open
(Reuters) – Rafa Nadal saved a match point before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6: 4: 6: 7 (6) 7: 5 to claim a record-breaking 12th Barcelona Open title on Sunday. This ended the unbeaten start of his Greek opponent in nine European clay court swing games.
After the 34-year-old Nadal has collected his first title in the 2021 season, he will overtake the Russian Daniil Medvedev and take back second place in the updated ATP rankings on Monday.
Nadal was on the verge of losing in the tenth game of the final set but recovered and won three games in a row to beat Monte Carlo champions Tsitsipas after three hours and 38 minutes. It was the longest ATP Tour game of the year.
Tsitsipas, who won his previous meeting with the Spaniard in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February, fought hard to stay in the game, saving two match points before winning the tie-break in the second set to force the decision.
Nadal improved his unbeaten record in the final at one of his favorite ATP events, where the main venue bears his name, to 12-0.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner will be back in action at the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments next month in Madrid and Rome and will bring the momentum to the French Open, where he is aiming for a record-breaking 14th Roland Garros title.
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