Super champion of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-Conde de Godó Trophy. Legend. Rafael Nadal regained command in his club, RCT Barcelona-1899, defeating the Greek Stefanos Tsisipas for 6-4 and 6-7 (6), 7-5 in 3h. 38 ‘. He knew how to suffer from behind on the scoreboard, came back, dealt with the difficult mental burden of not finishing with two match points (6-4, 5-.4, 15-.40), raised one against (4-5 in the third set playing one of his ribbon hits) and closed in his favor like a king of clay, great in all circumstances. Also in the monumental show that the final became: Tennis, Alternatives, Drama. A high quality ‘thriller’.
When Tsitsipas’s ball died in the net, Rafa Nadal dropped into the dirt of RCT Barcelona. What a huge victory! Splendid ending, historical culmination.
Nadal raises the record to 12 Count of Godó Trophies. His second most prolific place after 13 Roland Garros. Has won 61 of 68 clay court finals, has 87 ATP crowns. The statistics adorn his status as a sports myth, although they cannot reflect that extra that Rafa gives. He has doubts, he overcomes them. Make mistakes, solve them. You feel dominated, you fight. Go open field, sentence. Full. Universal. There are 66 games won out of 70 played at the Godó, his balance on the ground is impressive: 452 victories and 41 defeats, more than 91% correct.
At 34 years old, World No. 3 (on Monday he recovers No. 2), Wonder as when he had 18. Successes from 2005 to 2009, from 2011 to 2013, from 2016 to 2018 and in 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to the pandemic and regaining a throne that the Austrian had taken from him in 2019 Dominic Thiem.
This Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22 years old and world No. 5, was no longer the scary young man who played his first ATP final in the Godó 2018 and he lost 6-2 and 6-1 to a Nadal whom he considered untouchable. This time the Hellenic arrived with the title of Monte Carlo ATP Masters 1000 and his recent comeback in the quarterfinals of Australian Open, which was his second victory in eight games with the Spanish.
However, Nadal competed like a champion and gradually defeated the grown Tsitsipas. Rafa showed gallons at the beginning stopping a rival whom he tied up when the final ran wild for quality and emotion, since the outcome was delayed to the tiebreak, after saving the Greek two match points with 6-4, 5-4 and 15-40.
The first set represented a lesson in how to make the most of the potential that is available at all times. Without complaints, with humility and dedication. Lacking inspiration, work and attitude to gradually improve and achieve an award that seemed far from reality.
Rafa Nadal is a great man in his streaks of being the untouchable king of clay, but he also sets himself apart from the rest of the racket mortals in periods of doubts and greater errors than usual. Only under that premise of not surrendering to the apparent evidence did the Balearic go back and take that initial set.
A 6-4 in 58 minutes after being down 1-3, maintain his serve in an agonizing fifth game saving two balls of 1-4, double ‘break’. Not a couple of double faults and one more failure with his compass, the drive, prevented him from grabbing the opportunity to set the 2-3.
Minutes later he will balance the final, 4-4. A warrior destabilizing a Tsitsipas that was falling into the spider web woven by the survivor Nadal. Within this particular masterpiece, Nadal rallied from 15-40 and another third break point to lead 5-4.
He revived a thousand times, and sentenced an astonished opponent by making the ‘break’ to win the set 6-4 with a favorable 4-0 partial. The first one delivered by Tsitsipas after 17 in a row in your favor between Monaco and Barcelona.
The script was repeated in the second set, with Tsitsipas leading a ‘break’ up (1-3). From behind he was finding a way and solutions Nadal, who also as he approached the trophy rebuilt his confidence and developed more tennis. He caressed the KO with 5-4 and 15-40 to the rest, but Tsitsipas rallied two championship points taking the initiative from the service.
At the ‘tiebreak’, with both already unleashed, dragging the thousand spectators into ecstasy that allows the Covid. Especially when Nadal lifted two set points (4-6): he reached a left and then volleyed in the first and hit a forehand winner in the second. But he made a double fault, 6-7, and Tsitsipas didn’t miss it with service.
After two hours and 22 minutes of fighting, all balanced when Rafa Nadal lost a second set in a Godó final. In the previous eleven he had scratched one David ferrer in 2008.
Tennis at its best. All the ingredients for an exceptional closing, by a fireproof Rafa Nadal. A super champion lifting a match point with 4-5, then getting the break (6-5) that allowed him to seal another masterpiece. Huge Nadal. Huge Tsitsipas. Both had points to win a very valuable trophy for Rafa.