Three years and two editions later, it returns to the final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-Conde de Godó Trophy its sporting flagship, the RCTB-1899 tennis player Rafael Nadal. This Sunday (4pm) he will play for his twelfth victory at home, in the great and most desired final because the historic champion and first seed will be challenged by the second favorite and fittest tennis player, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. He added nine wins in a row without giving up a set eliminating the Italian Jannik Sinner by 6-3 and 6-3.
Nadal, 34 years old and world No. 3, will repeat the 2018 final with Tsitsipas, 22 years old and No. 5. Then Rafa won 6-2 and 6-1, but the Hellenic has not stopped growing since his international baptism and is presented as the winner of the 2019 ATP Finals and, on all, recent dominator of the Monte Carlo ATP Masters 1000. He soon ceased to be a ‘Next Gen’, he has won a position in the elite as one of the stars of the present and future.
Rafa Nadal, faithful to his philosophy and ability to excel, continued to climb the level ladder that has been set daily. He improved a lot compared to previous days, although he got involved again for a moment. Without consequences because he ended up shorting the Asturian Pablo Carreño. Eighth victory for manacorí, fifth on the ground without giving up a set, out of nine: 6-3 and 6-2 in 1h.29 ‘.
And it could have been more forceful because Nadal went ahead 5-1 in the initial sleeve acting as king of the land, commanding with his right. A smash that hardly touched being dazzled by the sun’s rays constituted, together with a double fault that followed, the innocent but lethal beginning of a Balearic slump.
It cost him the break shortly after (5-2) and having to hold on to the set with 5-3 and serve, saving three break balls. He closed it ‘in extremis’, defending rather than attacking as minutes ago.
His final ATP 124, for the title 87, 61 on clay
He regained his calm, and with it the arsenal of rights that allow him to dictate the points. He accelerated towards his twelfth final in Barcelona, the 124th of his career, the first of this course (in his third tournament). Undefeated in the Godó finals, aspires to his 87th ATP title, 61st on gravel. He wants to regain the hegemony that the Austrian took from him in the ‘semis’ of 2019 Dominic Thiem.
The comeback at the Australian Open 2021
It will be their ninth game with Tsitsipas, who have won their last nine games without giving up a set. Dominates the series 7-2 Rafa, 2-1 on the ground. As a more recent antecedent, the comeback of the Greek in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 and 7-5.
It is a matter of tranquility.
“It’s not perfect (the level), I still need some more things. It is a matter of tranquility. I spent the days after the defeat in Monte Carlo suffering. And today at times I have had good things. The reality is that I have been taking steps forward and it means a lot to be in another final in Barcelona ”, says Rafa Nadal.
It is the best Tsitsipas I have ever seen. It is an important game for me beyond the result
“Monte Carlo comes from winning, he is here in the final. It is the best Tsitsipas I have ever seen. I need to be one hundred percent with me. I don’t know if I’ve taken enough steps yet, but I hope I’m ready. I have to play longer, with my drive towards his backhand, that he cannot play comfortably with his drive. It is an important game for me beyond the result. At least compete ”, he adds.