Nadal Continues Clay Dominance, Cecchinato Wins Maiden ATP Title
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
ATP BarcelonaEmbed from Getty Images
Rafael Nadal showed no signs of stress or fatigue as he raced through his matches in Barcelona without dropping a set, continued his consecutive sets won streak on clay that dates back to last season. Nadal surrendered 5 games to Martin Klizan in the quarters, but was otherwise unbothered, defeating Roberto Carballes Baena, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Klizan, and David Goffin with two bagels and a breadstick thrown in prior to the final.
In that final he faced next-gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas, a rising Greek playing in his first ATP final. Tsitsipas has a great career ahead of him but he was overmatched by Rafa’s clay prowess, falling 6-2 6-1.
Tsitsipas, who has stepped up to a full time ATP schedule this year, won matches against Corentin Moutet, Diego Schwartzman, Albert Ramos, Dominic Thiem, and Pablo Carreno Busta without dropping a set, a great run to the final that saw at least three upsets in that period.
The doubles final was won by the Lopez brothers, as Marc and Feliciano beat Qureshi/Rojer, completing a Spanish sweep of Barcelona.Embed from Getty Images
ATP BudapestEmbed from Getty Images
Marco Cecchinato had the joy of winning his first ATP title in the Budapest 250. The Italian, who had a poor record on clay at the tour level until this year, defeated John Millman 7-5 6-4 in the final. Millman, another clay struggler at tour level, also had the chance to win his first ATP title, but came up just short.
Cecchinato entered the draw as a lucky loser and went on to defeat Mirza Basic, Damir Dzumhur, J.L. Struff, and Andreas Seppi. The wins over Struff and Seppi coming in three sets. Millman reached the final with wins against Radu Albot, Lucas Pouille, Yannick Maden, and Aljaz Bedene, his final three wins all upsets, and the last two coming in tight third sets.
Inglot/Skugor won the doubles title over Middelkoop/Molteni.