Rafael Nadal won his ninth Barcelona Open and tied clay court legend Guillermo Vilas for career clay-court titles at 49 titles each.
The victory could possibly add to speculation that Nadal has regained the form that deserted him as he battled injuries that seemingly went on forever and once again present a challenge to the dominance of Novak Djokovic.
Aside from being the best tennis player in the world for the past several years, clay is not Djokovic’s preferred surface, so if Nadal is indeed back, the Djoker may hope for a serendipitous draw in the upcoming French Open that eliminates the necessity of getting past Nadal in order to keep his pursuit of a season Grand Slam intact.
Nadal beat defending champion Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6 – 4, 7 – 5 to bookend his trophy form last week’s Monte Carlo victory. Nishikori was going for his third consecutive Barcelona Open win after the struggling Nadal mad early exists in 2015 and 2014.
It was the 69th career title in his 101 appearances in tournament finals. Nadal will be celebrating his 30th birthday in Paris, hopefully at least, as the 2016 French Open is scheduled to run through June 5, so if Nadal does indeed maintain his clay court wizardry, he could be playing a semifinal followed by birthday cake after.