Rafa Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas They play today Sunday, at 4:00 p.m., a dream final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-Conde de Godó Trophy. It is the reissue of his duel of 2018, when the king of the land scared a young Greek debutante, winning 6-2 and 6-1.
Nadal, 34 years old and world No. 3, continues to be the almighty dominator on clay, although he only plays his third tournament of the season and reached the RCT Barcelona-1899 with the doubts generated by his bad game against Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo. In the same ATP Masters 1000 that captured Tsitsipas, 22 years old and No. 5, taking a momentum that has extended to Barcelona. There are 9 games won, 17 sets in a row.
The first two seeds, facing each other. It will be their ninth confrontation, fourth on clay. In addition to the 2018 final at the Godó, they saw each other in Madrid and Rome 2019. Tsitsipas won the Caja Mágica 6-4, 2-6 and 6-3, taking revenge the following week Nadal, 6-3 and 6-4.
As a more recent precedent, the comeback in February of the Hellenic in the quarters of the Australian Open, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 and 7-5, leaving the record at 6-2 Nadal.
Rafa Nadal has gradually improved his performance in the tournament. He has gone from almost agonizing suffering to being able to work with some peace of mind, regaining his tennis. He is where he wanted, in the final. With his history on clay and Godó, it is difficult to put a tag on him as a favorite that, however, Stefanos Tsitsipas also deserves for his excellent form.
The record supports the historic champion. The present is the applicant’s ally. The Hellenic is in a sweet sporting peak. The Spaniard is suspicious of the doubts planted in Monaco, which he has been cleaning up in Barcelona, without knowing if it will be enough to lift the Count of Godó Trophy for the twelfth time.
“Tsitsipas comes from winning in Monte Carlo and he is playing at a very high level, he is the best Tsitsipas that I have seen. I need to be one hundred percent. He will play well for sure. I have taken steps forward, but I don’t know if it will be enough ”, points out Rafa Nadal. He points out that “I still need some more things, it is a matter of tranquility.” He feels ready to take another level jump, although he does not know if it will be enough against an enemy that is so powerful.
“It is a day when I need to be at my best. If I succeed, I will have more options, but he may be the favorite and the challenge must be accepted with humility. I hope to be at the maximum against the rival more in shape at the moment ”, says Rafa.
60 wins in 67 clay court finals
Although he has been noted as a hunter of endings, in all kinds of circumstances. On clay it is devastating. The plenary session, 11 of 11, at the end of Godó, is in tune with his 17-year career, since 2004, when he won his first crown, in Sopot, to this 2021, in which he aspires to increase his booty of 60 titles on land, in 67 finals.
Only four tennis players have been able to scratch him a victory in an ATP final: Roger Federer, in Hamburg 2007 and 2009; Novak Djokovic, consecutively in Madrid and Rome 2011; Horacio Zeballos surprised at Viña del Mar 2013; Djokovic broke his winning streak at Monte Carlo 2013. And the best Andy Murray he won in Madrid 2015.
Since that last TKO, fifteen dominated finals, the most recent being the thirteenth Roland Garros, his 20th Grand Slam. Today, for more in “an important game for me beyond the result.” Think in the short and medium term on your clay.