Rafael Nadal Beats Horacio Zeballos To Play For Record 10th Barcelona Title | ATP World Tour | TennisTen tournament titles was so nice Rafael Nadal might have to do it twice.
A week after becoming the first man in the Open Era (since April 1968) to win a tournament 10 times, Rafael Nadal will have a chance to repeat the feat on Sunday during the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final. The Spaniard advanced to his 10th Barcelona title match on Saturday evening, beating Argentine Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes.
The 30-year-old Nadal has now won nine consecutive matches and is 19-1 in his past 20 sets. He’s yet to drop a set this week in Barcelona. The Spaniard will go for his 71st tour-level title and his 51st clay-court crown against fourth seed Dominic Thiem, who upset World No. 1 Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in Saturday’s earlier semi-final. Fans can listen to the final ball by ball on Tennis Radio or watch it on TennisTV.
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Nadal, who will be playing in his 106th career final, has won Barcelona crowns in 2005-09, 2011-13 and 2016. He improved to 52-3 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 500 event.
Zeballos was trying to reach his third career ATP World Tour final and his first since Vina del Mar in 2013, when he beat then-World No. 5 Nadal in the final. But Nadal was decidedly too much for the Argentine on Saturday.
The Spaniard dominated the first set, winning 81 per cent of his service points and erasing all three break points. Nadal faced trouble late in the opener, serving at 5-3, when Zeballos ripped a backhand pass to earn two break points at 15/40.
But Nadal saved the first break point with an aggressive forehand volley putaway. The Spaniard attacked the net often under pressure during the semi-final, winning eight of his 13 net trips. A mishit backhand from Zeballos put the game at deuce, and Nadal would later hold to win the first set.
Zeballos regrouped well in the second set, though, holding serve until 4-4 when a double fault from the Argentine gave Nadal his fourth break point of the set. Serving at 30/40, Zeballos missed a forehand, and Nadal had the only break he would need in the second set. The Spaniard erased all five break points for the match.