News: One week after securing a record 10th title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Rafael Nadal swept aside Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4 6-1 to claim his 10th Barcelona Open title.
The Spaniard – who became the first man in the Open era to win the same event 10 times at last week’s Monte Carlo Masters – did not drop a set this week.
Nadal has been in superb form this season, finishing as the runner-up at the Australia Open and at the Miami Open, and dominating the start of the clay court season.
“It means a lot to me to win 10 titles here in Barcelona as well,” Nadal said. “To win in Barcelona and Monte Carlo gives me a dream start to the clay season.”
It was Nadal’s second title of the season and 71st of his career. The fifth-ranked Spaniard had lost his previous three finals, including to Roger Federer in the Australian Open.
Next month he will try to win a 10th French Open title. The last of his 14 Grand Slams was three years ago in Roland Garros.
Nadal broke the ninth-ranked Austrian late in the first set and early in the second, then cruised to close out the match for his 51st career title on clay. He saved the only break point he conceded to Thiem at the “Rafa Nadal” center court. He was only broken twice in 47 service games throughout the week.
“It was vital for me to win the first set,” Nadal said. “It was difficult. I had a few more chances than him, but it was very even.”
The 30-year-old Nadal has won 10 consecutive matches and is 21-1 in his past 22 sets.
Thiem, who had upset top-ranked Andy Murray in the semi-finals on Saturday, was trying to win his second title of the season. He won in Rio de Janeiro in February.
Nadal won five straight titles in Barcelona from 2005-09, then three consecutive from 2011-13, and now two in a row in 2016 and this year. He has a 10-0 record in finals in Barcelona, losing only one set.
Nadal improved to 53-3 at the ATP World Tour 500 event.