BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal romped to his 10th Barcelona Open title on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as he swept aside Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 for a 51st clay-court crown.
The Spaniard has made the perfect start to the clay-court season and will aim for a 10th French Open next month after also claiming his 10th title at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.
Nadal won in Barcelona between 2005-2009, 2011-13 and now in the last two years.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion looks like the man to beat in Paris as on the court newly baptized in his name he failed to drop a set all week.
Thiem had shocked world number one Andy Murray in Saturday’s semifinals and showed some early resistance.
The world number nine even had his only break point of the match in the first game.
But Nadal, returning to top form at age 30, upped his intensity at the crucial moment and took the set with the only break in the 10th game.
The second set was a procession as Thiem’s frustration at his inability to break through Nadal’s defenses saw him consistently fire long.
Thiem held off three break points in his opening service game, but was powerless to stop Nadal thereafter as he won the last five games to seal victory in just over 90 minutes on court.
Murray stays top, Nadal fifth despite Barcelona success
Murray stays top of the latest ATP rankings released on Monday, which remain unchanged despite the success of Nadal in Barcelona at the weekend.
A week after his Monte Carlo Masters success, the Spaniard also claimed a tenth title in the Catalan capital but remains fifth behind Swiss Roger Federer, who did not play.
Budapest winner Lucas Pouille of France moves into a career-best 14th position as 20-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov soars 14 places to 42nd after reaching the Barcelona quarterfinals.