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Tennis Round-up: Nadal dominant in Barcelona, Veteran Verdasco wins in Bucharest

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Rafael Nadal barely broke a sweat winning his 9th title at the Barcelona, after beating World Number 6, Kei Nishikori, 6-4 7-5. Nadal looked comfortable throughout with straight sets victories against Marcel Granollers, Albert Montanes, Fabio Fognini, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Nishikori. The victory means Nadal draws level with Guillermo Vilas’ record of 49 clay court titles.

Nishikori, the winner of the tournament for the past two consecutive years, couldn’t compete with Nadal’s aggressive ground strokes, especially the forehand of the Spaniard, which was utterly dominant throughout the tournament. The top two seeds both qualified for the final, and there were very few shocks during the tournament, and as such the ATP World Rankings changed very little this week, particularly at the top, with Benoit Paire, beaten by Nishikori in the final, the only top 25 player to move having played.

The most impressive movers from the Barcelona Open were Malek Jaziri, who climbed 12 places to a career high 64, and Andrey Kuznetsov, up 8 places, also a career best of 39 after both players reached the quarter finals. The other player to reach a career high, was Alexander Zverev. The “next gen” star has already broken the top 50, now ranked 49 after reaching the 3rd round.


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In Bucharest, it was the opposite final, as neither player was seeded. The final was delayed almost 24 hours due to rain, but it was Fernando Verdasco who emerged victorious, beating Lucas Pouille 6-3 6-2. The 32 year old Spaniard climbs 26 places back to World Number 60. Verdasco beat Aldin Setkic, Radu Albot, Robin Hasse, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Rouille to take the title in Bucharest, but Lucas Pouille will be equally pleased with his performances over the duration of the tournament, beating 3 seeded players to make the final. He faced Dusan Lajovic, Ivo Karlovic, Paolo Lorenzi, and Federico Delbonis to reach the final, and as a result, the 22 year old Frenchman reaches a career high World Number 55, up 17 places.

It was a good week for Kyle Edmund, after his victory against Lukas Rosol sees the Brit rise 3 places to 89, a stark contrast to his opponent, Rosol, who falls 4 places. It was a fantastic week for Italian, Marco Cecchintao, who made the quarter finals of the tournament and as such rises 6 places to 93rd.

With so many career highs this week, and 3 competitions next week, the Millenium Estoril Open, BMW Open in Munich, and the Istanbul Open, it will be interesting to see who can make a push for automatic qualification at Roland Garros in less than a month’s time, but firstly, at the Masters 1000 Matua Madrid Open next week.

Fernando Verdasco Kei Nishikori Rafael Nadal

About Roger Mottram

Northern Irish football, tennis and golf fan studying Sports Journalism at University of Central Lancashire

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