Nadal captures 12th Barcelona title in marathon match over Tsitsipas

Nadal captures 12th Barcelona title in marathon match over Tsitsipas

The undisputed King of Clay needed to save a championship point, but he's still yet to lose in Barcelona after reaching the final.

It’s rare that a highly anticipated final blows expectations out of the water, but that’s exactly what Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas did on Sunday in Barcelona for the better part of four hours. In the end, the undisputed King of Clay would reign supreme, securing his 12th Barcelona title 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-5. The Spaniard has never lost in Barcelona after reaching the final, but needed to save a championship point at 4-5 in the third set.

Despite struggling to find his form for much of the tournament, losing sets to both Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori, Nadal once again played his best tennis in the biggest moments, breaking Tsitsipas in consecutive return games to capture the first set 6-4. 

After finding himself down a break in the second, Nadal would storm back to take a 5-4, 40-15 lead. The Greek saved two match points with aggressive tennis, and would go on to capture the second set in a tiebreak. 

The third set was neck and neck throughout, until Nadal broke the Tsitsipas serve at 5-5. The full Barcelona crowd joined their Spaniard in celebration after Tsitsipas’ forehand sailed wide on match point. 

With his victory, Nadal handed Tsitsipas his first clay court loss of the season. This title marks Nadal’s record-extending 61st clay court title, and 87th career singles title.