Nishikori & Dimitrov Win 1st Career ATP Titles on Clay in Barcelona & Bucharest
Kei Nishikori was the most dominant player all week long in Barcelona, as he raced to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over surprise finalist Santiago Giraldo. Giraldo falls to 0-2 in career ATP finals, and Nishikori has now claimed two titles this season.
Nishikori dropped his only set this week against Roberto Bautista Agut in his first match, prevailing in 3 sets.
Then he got on a roll and crushed Andrey Golubev, Marin Cilic and Ernests Gulbis to reach the final.
Giraldo beat Igor Sijsling, got a retirement against Fabio Fognini, saved a multitude of match points against Dominic Thiem to prevail in 3 sets 7-5 in the third, and then got a retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber and a straight set win over Nicolas Almagro.
Almagro earned a huge confidence-boosting win against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, as Rafa has now lost to Ferrer and Nico in consecutive weeks, players he has dominated against in the past and on clay.
Gulbis earns semifinal points but didn’t face a seed en route.
Jesse Huta Galung/Stephane Robert, who were alternates and not originally in the main draw this week, are the doubles champions over Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic
Grigor Dimitrov also claimed his second title of the season, as the top seed beat Jiri Vesely, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Gael Monfils without dropping a set, then beat Lukas Rosol in straight sets in the final 7-6, 6-1 as Rosol came up short in his effort to defend his Bucharest title. Rosol hung around for a set and kept it competitive, as Dimitrov was shaky at points, but he quickly unraveled in set 2 and Dimitrov put the match on cruise control.
Rosol beat Filippo Volandri, Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Simon and then Robin Haase in 3 sets to reach the final.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Romanian Horia Tecau defeated Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski to win the doubles titl