Years will pass, not many, and some tennis player will become the best on clay. Maybe it will be Tsitsipas, who played a magnificent final against an eternal rival, but the time has not yet come to dethrone Rafa Nadal. Not on land and not on the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell. Not at home and not in front of his people: the manacorí got rid of Tsitsipas in a marathon match, lasting almost four hours, winning his twelfth Godó and recovering the number two in the world. The game, of a very high level, is one of the best finals that are remembered in Barcelona.
In front of a tennis player of the quality of Tsitsipas and at the moment of the form that the Greek is, any gift on the court was a suicide. Nadal knew it, he warned it in the previous one, and started with a blank game showing his superiority in the serve. Tsitsipas suffered to win the second, with a serve in favor, but was especially comfortable in the long points. And it was in the third, when Nadal began to chain errors, that the Greek took advantage. Two blank games, the first break, for the 3-1 in favor of Tsitsipas.
And it could be worse, because the Greek tennis player had two balls to get 4-1. He traded comfortably with Nadal and was aggressive looking for winners. Some inaccuracies prevented him from taking the game, also Nadal’s powerful drive, against a Tsitsipas who had not planned to speculate. From less to more, in the tournament and in the match, Nadal chained good shots, resisted in key moments and equalized the match with a break (4-4). It was the second time, in the entire Godó, that Tsitsipas lost a game with his serve. He also lost the next one. 6-4 and sleeve for Nadal.
An ending doomed to epic
The second set started the same as the first, with an advantage for Tsitsipas after breaking Nadal’s serve in the third game. The Greek was more aggressive than in the first round, climbing more to the net and always looking for winners. An attractive tennis, also Nadal’s, solid mentally and physically, that quickly regained the advantage (4-3).
A second break by Nadal would have practically been the game, but Tsitsipas quickly cleared the doubt with a blank game. Nadal won with his serve (5-4) and subtracted to take the match: The Greek, who saved two match balls, was much more uncomfortable than in previous matches. And the reason was obvious: his rival was Rafa Nadal. Despite this, Tsitsipas dominated with his serve and forced the tie break. The tiebreaker was very even, with an advantage first for Nadal and then for Tstitsipas, who had two set points. The third did not forgive her (7-6).
The final set was even, with both players taking few risks thus making a possible break difficult. No option in the first four games (2-2), nor in the fifth, in a game that was increasingly tense. Nadal regained his confidence, spurred on by the public, willing not to give an inch to his rival. He insisted on looking for Tsitsipas’ backhand and continued to control his serve. But his rival did the same. At 5-4 Tsitsipas had a match ball (Nadal had two in the second set) but Rafa saved it. And after the deuce, again the equalized (5-5).
It was then when, at the key moment, Nadal’s experience weighed in. With the courage to choose his shots well, he broke Tsitsipas’ serve and served to win his twelfth Godó. It was not easy, the Greek fought throughout the game and even had a break ball to tie the game, but Nadal did not miss the victory, closing one of the best finals that are remembered in Godó.