Rafael Nadal continues his winning ways at the Barcelona Open…
The 26-year-old Spanish tennis superstar won the tournament for the eighth time on Sunday, beating his fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 to earn his fourth title of the year.
“I am very happy,” said Nadal. “It has been an important week for me to win here again and a great source of joy after everything I have been through.”
Nadal has made six straight finals since returning from his knee injury. This title, the 54th of his career, comes a week after his eight-year reign at Monte Carlo ended with a loss to top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
“With just these six tournament since I have returned, I have managed to assure my place in the top 10 one more year, which is positive,” said Nadal, who is ranked No. 5. “These months of work have been worth it.”
Even so, Nadal is hesitant to say how this might carry over to Roland Garros, where he has won a record seven times.
“This win doesn’t mean much,” he said. “Just that I am in good form since I have come back. The results are fantastic. I would never have imagined them and they are better than I had dreamed. I am back playing at a high level.”
After trailing 3-0 in the first set, Nadal found his form and broke Almagro in three of his next four service games to take command of the match, which was played in a drizzle.
Nadal won the Barcelona Open from 2005-09 but did not play in 2010 because of a knee injury. He has won the tournament every year since. He has won 39 straight matches on the red clay at Real Club de Tenis, his last loss coming 10 years ago to Spain’s Davis Cup captain, Alex Corretja.
“I didn’t know in 2005 that I would win again or that in 2013 I would still be winning,” Nadal said.