Nadal captures eighth Barcelona crown

Updated: April 28, 2013


Rafael Nadal continued his dominance at
the Barcelona Open, winning the title for the eighth time with a straight-set
victory over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in Sunday’s final.

Nadal, whose eight-year reign at Monte Carlo ended last Sunday with a loss to
Novak Djokovic in the final, claimed a 6-4, 6-3 win this Sunday for his fourth
title of 2013.

The clay king has been his usual dominant self since returning from a knee
injury that sidelined him for seven months. He made his season debut in Vina
del Mar in February and reached the final of that event, falling to unheralded
Horacio Zeballos, then won in Sao Paolo, Acapulco and Indian Wells before last
week’s surprising setback.

Nadal is the first four-time winner this year and owns a record of 26-2,
including 21-2 on clay. He has now won 39 straight matches in Barcelona, an
event he skipped in 2010, with his lone loss in 41 tries at this tournament
coming 10 years ago in the second round against Alex Corretja.

Almagro actually raced out to a 3-0 lead on Sunday with a pair of breaks, but
Nadal dominated from there and improved to 10-0 all-time against his
countryman. It was their first meeting in a final.

Nadal also improved to 13-0 against fellow Spaniards in ATP World Tour finals
and continued his remarkable record on clay overall. Of his 54 career titles,
39 have come on the slow surface. He is 39-6 in clay finals and 54-23 overall
in title matches.

Only Thomas Muster (40) and Guillermo Vilas (45) have more titles on clay.

Almagro was bidding for his 13th career title and fell to 12-8 all-time in
finals — all of which have come on clay. He was beaten by John Isner in the
Houston finale earlier this year.

It’s the 11th straight year a Spaniard has won this tournament.