RIO OPEN PRESENTED BY CLARO HDTV 2014
Nadal Captures 62nd Title In Rio
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal claimed his 62nd tour-level title on Sunday as he defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(3) in the final of the inaugural Rio Open Presented by Claro hdtv.
The Spaniard moved up to joint-seventh with Guillermo Vilas in the Open Era title leaders list. He is two trophies behind fifth-placed Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. The victory in Rio de Janeiro earned him 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points and $316,400 in prize money.
"Always when you win a title, it’s special," said Nadal, who celebrated his triumph with Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Gustavo Kuerten. "In a 500 tournament, you don’t have a chance to play a lot of these in the calendar. The first edition of a big tournament like Rio, it’s a very important city in the world, and after coming back from injury, it always makes the victory a little more special."
The 27-year-old Nadal is undefeated on Brazilian soil. He also won titles in Costa do Sauipe in 2005 (d. A. Martin) and in Sao Paulo last year (d. Nalbandian). This week marked the first time a World No. 1 had played in Brazil since 2001, when home favourite Gustavo Kuerten competed in Costa do Sauipe.
Nadal had saved two match points to overcome countryman Pablo Andujar in an enthralling semi-final on Saturday. He improved to a perfect 5-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Dolgopolov as he claimed victory in one hour and 41 minutes. The left-hander was restricted to just one winner in the first set by the wily Ukrainian, sealing the opener with an ace. Dolgopolov broke Nadal as the Mallorcan served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Nadal held on to claim victory in the ensuing tie-break.
"Yesterday was a tough match," said Nadal. "Pablo played a great match, playing very aggressive. I played too short yesterday and I gave him the chance to have control of the point from inside.
"I’m not very happy with the way I played yesterday, but I think today I was able to play with a little bit more calm, play a little bit longer and go a little bit more for the points. I played a more solid match today."
Nadal has a 16-1 record in 2014, with his only loss coming in the Australian Open final against Stanislas Wawrinka. The Spaniard opened his 2014 campaign with victory at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Monfils).
"He was playing more solid than I watched him play yesterday," said Dolgopolov. "The stats were pretty impressive from him. As usual, he was spinning his forehand, making a lot of trouble to hit flat and couldn’t really get used to his serve much - only at the end of the match. But I’m quite happy with the week."
Dolgopolov was contesting his first ATP World Tour final since October 2012, when he finished runner-up in Valencia (l. to Ferrer). The 25 year old has won two ATP World Tour titles, in Umag in 2011 and Washington in 2012, and dropped to a 2-4 finals record. He had ousted second seed David Ferrer in the semi-finals.