ThrowbackTimes Barcelona: Rafael Nadal tops Dominic Thiem for "La Decima"



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ThrowbackTimes Barcelona: Rafael Nadal tops Dominic Thiem for "La Decima"

Just seven days after winning his tenth Monte Carlo crown in 2017, Rafael Nadal did the same in Barcelona as well, beating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 31 minutes to lift a beautiful Trofeo Conde de Godo trophy for the tenth time in 13 comings to Barcelona!

Nadal played on a high level from the very first point, covering the court beautifully and always pushing Thiem to play an extra shot. In the end, the Austrian started to make more and more errors and his defeat was inevitable after fading from the court in set number two.

It was the 71st ATP title for Nadal and the 51st on clay, claiming the trophy on the court that carries his name from that 2017 and improving his Barcelona score to 53-3! Rafa was the pre-match favorite, almost as always on the slowest surface, although Dominic showed he could compete against Rafa on dirt, beating him in the semi-final of Buenos Aires a year ago.

In this one, he managed to stay in touch until the closing stages of the first set, playing aggressive tennis just like against Andy Murray before that tenth game when he fell apart in the deciding moment. Nadal was rock solid from the baseline, imposing his forehand in the exchanges and defending his backhand nicely to overpower the rival and cross the finish line first.

The Spaniard dropped just 15 points in nine service games, fending off the only break chance in the first game of the match and never offering another chance to his opponent. Thiem failed to repeat those numbers behind the initial shot, losing almost half of the points in his games and facing eight break chances.

He saved five of the first six to limit the damage but Nadal converted the final two to seal the deal in the second set, having a clear edge on the court in those moments. Nadal had to play against that break point after sending a backhand long, saving it with a great volley and bringing the game home after two deuces to avoid an early setback.

In the rest of the encounter, Thiem would never reach another deuce on the return, as Nadal found the right pattern in his games to stay away from any troubles and keep the pressure on the other side of the net. Both players served well in the next 4 games and it was Nadal who earned two break chances at 3-2, only to be denied by Thiem's forehand winners after good wide serves that opened the court for him.

Nonetheless, Dominic crumbled under pressure in game ten when he served to stay in the opener, wasting a game point and netting a backhand to hand the game and the set to Nadal after 50 minutes of entertaining tennis. In the closing stages of the set, Thiem played more risky shots to find the way how to penetrate Nadal, although that didn't end well for him as he was unable to control those strong and dangerous strokes.

With the momentum on his side, Rafa played even stronger in set number two, breezing past his four service games and taking every possible chance on the return to make life difficult for his rival. Thiem fended off three break opportunities in the second game but it was clear that his game from the first half of the first set had just vanished, with a matter of time when Nadal would find the way to move in front.

That occurred in game four after a 14-stroke rally and a forehand winner for Rafa who forged a 3-1 advantage and never looked back. The mighty Spaniard sealed the deal with another break in game six when Dominic hit a forehand long to get broken at love, with Nadal propelling himself over the finish line following a service winner in the next game, rattling off the last five games to celebrate the tenth Barcelona crown.