The Spanish master extended his dominance on the surface with a 6-2, 6-1 win over 19-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas on 29 April 2018 to win his 11th Barcelona Open title. Nadal, who also won his 11th Monte-Carlo Masters title last week, was never seriously challenged on his way to a 19th straight victory on clay.
The top-ranked Spaniard has now won 46 straight sets on clay, extending his own record. He hasn’t lost on clay since facing Dominic Thiem in Rome last year. It was the 77th title overall for Nadal, tying him with John McEnroe for fourth best in the Open Era. Only Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl are ahead.
Nadal, who won his 400th match on clay in Saturday’s semi-final, needed the victory in Barcelona to secure his number one ranking. He is now the only man in ATP history to have won 400 matches on clay and 400 matches on hard court. It’s hard for anybody to imagine all the feelings and emotions I have when I play here. Hopefully I can keep coming back for many more years to come.
The 63rd-ranked Tsitsipas was trying to become the first Greek to win an ATP Tour title. He was the first Greek to make it to an ATP final since Nicholas Kalogeropoulos in 1973. Tsitsipas was the youngest finalist in Barcelona since 2005 and was looking to become the first unseeded champion in the tournament since Gaston Gaudio in 2002. Tsitsipas had 23 unforced errors in the 77-minute loss on the Pista Rafa Nadal main show court, with brief rain interruptions. The Greek is expected to move to 44th in the rankings after his performance in Barcelona.