Rafael Nadal continued his winning ways by clinching the China Open and strengthened his hold over the number one position in the ATP Rankings.
The China Open victory was Nadal’s 75th career title and he clinched it by beating Nick Kyrgios in the final, winning 6-2, 6-1 in an easy encounter. It was also Nadal’s second China Open title victory, having won his first all the way back in 2012.
Nadal hadn’t started the tournament too well, after having needed to save a couple of match-points in his opener against Lucas Pouille but showed steadfast improvement throughout the tournament.
The Spaniard faced four break-points in the final and saved all of them, but what obviously didn’t help his Aussie opponent was his 35 unforced errors in the encounter.
What that victory means for Nadal is he is now on a 12-match winning streak having last lost a match at the Cincinnati Open – interestingly to Kyrgios himself.
Speaking to the media at the end of the game, Nadal said:
“It is an important title for me. The last year that I had the trophy with me was in 2005… It is completely different. I don’t even remember that one. The feeling is probably better this year.
“First thing, the tournament is bigger than in 2005. It’s a 500 event. Before it was 250. Every title later in your career is more special than when you were younger.”
He also reminded everyone he had a difficult draw, and admitted he thought to himself it was never going to be easy.
“I had very tough draw here. When I saw the draw at the beginning of the tournament, I knew that it will be very, very difficult to have good chances here. But I was lucky the first day saving the two match points.”
“After that, I think I played one of the best events of the year, playing very solid the whole week and playing against very tough opponents.”
The win helped Nadal grab 500 points to his ATP Rankings and that means he has a more-than-healthy 2360-point lead over the second-ranked Roger Federer. With just a month or so to go for the year to end, it does look likely that Nadal will finish the year as the top-ranked player.