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Nadal Beats Nalbandian To Win 37th Clay Title

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Nadal© Inovafoto/Brasil Open 2013Rafael Nadal won his 37th clay-court trophy.

Top seed Rafael Nadal clinched his 37th clay-court title on Sunday as he defeated David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Brasil Open 2013 in Sao Paulo. 

It is the Spaniard’s first trophy since winning at Roland Garros (d. Djokovic) in June 2012. He returned last week from a seven-month injury lay-off by reaching the singles (l. to Zeballos) and doubles (w/Monaco) finals at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar.

“It's very nice and important because at the end of your career what’s left are the titles, and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much,” said Nadal. “This one I appreciate it the most because of all the struggles I went through during the week, with some problems with my knee some days.”

Open Era Clay Court Title Leaders

Rank Player No.
1 Guillermo Vilas 45
2 Thomas Muster 40
3 Rafael Nadal 37
T-4 Bjorn Borg, Manuel Orantes 30
T-6 Ivan Lendl, Ilie Nastase 28
8 Jose-Luis Clerc 21
9 Mats Wilander 20
T-10 Andres Gomez, Carlos Moya 16

The 26-year-old Nadal won his first indoor clay-court tournament as he improved to a 51-22 record in tour-level finals. The left-hander received 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $82,300 in prize money.

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It is the second time Nadal has won this ATP World Tour 250 tournament. On his only previous appearance in 2005, when the tournament was staged outdoors in Costa do Sauipe, the Mallorcan triumphed with victory over Alberto Martin.

Playing against former World No. 3 Nalbandian for the seventh time, Nadal reeled off four straight games from 2-2 to take the opening set. The Manacor native then rallied from a 0-2 deficit in the second set to win six of the last seven games and claim victory in 78 minutes. He improved to a 5-2 lead over Nalbandian in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

"[It’s] true, David didn’t play very well, but in general I played my best match of the week,” Nadail said. “I am very happy, to win in Brazil for the second time, it's wonderful. In 2005 it was the beginning of all these last beautiful years. I hope this will be a re-start.”

The 31-year-old Nalbandian dropped to an 11-13 finals record. The Argentine was contesting his first clay-court final in almost five years, since finishing runner-up at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco in 2008 (l. to Almagro).

“I don’t think I played my best match of the week today. I think Rafa played better, he played deep,” assessed Nalbandian. “I was struggling to take the initiative during the points and although I had that lead in the second set, I couldn’t capitalise on it... I feel good because after a long time not playing, I reached the final in Sao Paulo.”

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