On Sunday, Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas played one of the best ATP finals in the last decade or so, staying on the court for almost three hours and 40 minutes. After an incredible battle, ups and downs and many fantastic points, Nadal prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 after saving a match point to remain unbeaten in the Barcelona Open finals and claim his first ATP crown since the last year's Roland Garros.
In 2018, Tsitsipas barely won a couple of games against Nadal in the title match here, improving his game by a mile in the upcoming years and standing as one of the players to beat on clay after winning the Monte Carlo crown without losing a set last week.
Shifting that form to Barcelona, the Greek toppled four rivals to set the title clash against the most formidable opponent, fighting like a lion and refusing to surrender until the very last moment.
Stefanos Tsitsipas praised Rafael Nadal after an epic Barcelona Open final.
For Nadal, this title couldn't come in a better moment, missing two months following that epic failure against Stefanos in Melbourne and suffering an early Monte Carlo exit to another young gun Andrey Rublev.
Staying composed while playing against a match point at 4-5 in the decider, Nadal survived that rally and gathered a massive boost to rattle off the last three games and deliver one of the most thrilling victories of his career.
Praising Nadal after the match, Tsitsipas said that the Spaniard is the real competitor on the court who hates losing more than any other player on the Tour. Also, Nadal's level pushed Tsitsipas to fight even harder and reach his limits to remain in touch and battle for the title, something he almost achieved after standing one fine shot away from the title.
"Rafael Nadal is a real competitor on the court. He hates losing more than anyone else. I haven't seen anyone fight like this. He makes my life really difficult on the court. I'm there to accept those terms and play based on his desire to fight.
It also makes me a better player, and I can see myself reaching my limits. It's definitely something good to have for my personal development and growth," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.