Nadal Reigns In Stuttgart
Rafael Nadal wasted little time returning to the winners' circle in Stuttgart, claiming his third MercedesCup title with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Viktor Troicki on Sunday.
Nadal, who takes home €104,600 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points, clinched his first grass-court crown in five years, since triumphing on the lawns of Wimbledon in 2010. Overall, it was the Spaniard's 66th tour-level singles title and second on the ATP World Tour this year, having emerged victorious on the clay of Buenos Aires."It's a very special title," said Nadal. "Since 2011 I didn't play a final on grass, so win a title here is very good news for my game and for my mentality too. Congrats to Viktor for a great tournament. He's playing great and will have some positives for the week.
"At this point of the season, every victory is important and every title means a lot to me. I'm happy for that... Thank you very much for all the support here in Stuttgart."
The top seed needed one hour and 27 minutes to prevail over Troicki, firing 11 aces, while converting on his lone break point. He won an impressive 86 per cent (42/49) of first serve points as well.
While the first set featured no breaks of serve, Nadal took the initiative to open the second, securing the match's only break in the fourth game and consolidating for a 4-1 lead. He would eventually convert on his third match point to close out the win.
The Mallorca native, who previously won the Stuttgart title in 2005 and '07, improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record to 5-0 against Troicki.
The World No. 28 Serb was bidding to claim his third ATP World Tour title in his seventh final. He hoisted his first trophy of the year to open the season in Sydney (d. Kukushkin). Troicki takes home €55,080 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points for his efforts.
"In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent," said Troicki. "He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I'm disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn't use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.
"It's a good result. I'm now going to London and we'll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence."