BARCELONA OPEN BANC SABADELL 2011
Nadal Clinches Sixth Barcelona Crown
by ATP Staff|
Having won the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament five successive times from 2005-2009, Nadal became the first player in the Open Era to win two tournaments at least six times. Last weekend he defeated Ferrer in straight sets to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters crown for the seventh year in a row.
"I feel at home here," said Nadal. "It's a very special tournament. It always has been as I grew up watching this tournament. It's a historical tournament with a great tradition and great champions. It's more than a dream to win here six times."
As champion, Nadal received 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and € 290,000 in prize money, while Ferrer collected 300 ranking points and € 145,750.
In winning his 31st clay-court tour-level title – the third-highest number in the Open Era - the 24-year-old Nadal improved to a 34-match winning streak on the surface. He has not lost a match on clay since falling to Robin Soderling in the 2009 Roland Garros fourth round, and has only surrendered three sets in that period.
In the ninth all-Spanish final in the Open Era at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899, Nadal saved a break point in his opening service game before his forehand found its mark and Ferrer had no answer as he raced to a 4-1 lead. The fourth-seeded Ferrer showed his tenacity as he recouped one of the breaks in the sixth game, but the Valencia native had struggled on second serve throughout the set, winning just one of eight points in total, and paid the price as he was broken for the third time and Nadal went on to seal the one-set lead.
Nadal came up against a sterner test in the second set. Ferrer, who defeated the left-hander in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January, showed great steel to recover from an early 0-2 deficit and reeled off four straight games to lead 4-2. It proved to be the Spaniard’s last stand, though, as Nadal won the final four games to prevail in one hour and 49 minutes.
"I played a great first set," reflected Nadal. "I was changing the directions of my shots very well. It's been a very positive week and I think my level has been higher this week than in Monte-Carlo last week. My serve worked much better this week, especially, and also my forehand."
In his assessment, Ferrer said, "He served very well in the first set. In the second set we broke each other a lot but I think he played better than me. I had a chance at 4-2 up, but I didn't serve well in the important moments."
A day earlier in the semi-finals, Nadal had recorded his 500th tour-level win with a straight-sets victory over Ivan Dodig. Since falling to Alex Corretja in the second round on his 2003 debut in Barcelona, the Mallorcan has won 29 successive matches at the tournament.
World No. 6 David Ferrer was bidding for his third ATP World Tour title of the season after victories on hard court at Auckland (d. Nalbandian) and Acapulco (d. Almagro). He also lost out to Nadal in the Barcelona final in 2008-2009.
"It's always sad to lose, but it's been a very good week," said Ferrer. "This tournament is very special to me. If someone told me I would reach the final in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, I would sign for sure.
"It's difficult to beat Rafa, especially on clay. It's been a great season so far, I am very happy, and I hope to continue like this."