Top seed Rafael Nadal will contest in his 12th Barcelona Open. The 11-time champion will lock horns against Stefanos Tsitsipas, in what promises to be a blockbuster of a final. Since the start of the clay-court season, Tsitsipas has won 17 sets in a row. After claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo, the Greek has made it to his second consecutive final in two weeks.
Rafael Nadal suffered a dramatic three-set loss to Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo. After a shaky start in his opening two rounds in Barcelona, the Spaniard has found his feet on his beloved surface.
When speaking about his game, the Spaniard said “I have taken steps forward, but I don’t know if it will be enough. I hope to be ready, but I am aware that I have to play longer and playing with intensity. It is an important game for me beyond the result.”
The World No.3 spoke about his opponent in the final, “Tsitsipas comes from winning in Monte Carlo and is playing at a very high level, he is the best Tsitsipas I have seen. I need to be 100%. He will play well for sure. I still need some more things, it is a matter of tranquility. I suffered but I passed the matches of the first rounds. Today I had good things, I have been taking steps forward during the tournament. It means a lot to me to play another final in Barcelona.”
Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas? Who will emerge victorious?
It is never easy to face Nadal on the red surface. But based on current form, Tsitsipas will fancy his chances even against Nadal. He may have suffered an embarassing 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Nadal three years ago but that was an inexperienced 18-year-old playing in his first ever ATP final.
If Tsitsipas can come all guns blazing from the get-go, he can force Nadal on the backfoot. Allowing Nadal grow into the game will only make things worse for the young Greek. But it is very difficult to bet against Nadal in a clay-court final, irrespective of his opponent and their respective forms. That is just how great he is on this surface.
Whatever the result may be, the tennis world can be assured of a cracking final.
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