Kei Nishikori Retains Barcelona Crown
Japan’s top-seed Kei Nishikori successfully retained his Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title, defeating local hero Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday's final on the Pista Central to clinch his second ATP title of the season and his ninth career title.
The current World No. 5 battled back from early breaks in both sets and hit 23 winners to win his second clay-court title in 94 minutes and become the tenth player in history to clinch back-to-back titles at the Real Club Tenis Barcelona.
“Pablo was very aggressive; he kept moving the ball and made me run up and down all the time. I also tried to be aggressive and I think that’s why I won the important points,” Nishikori analyzed the match in the post-match press conference.
“I think this victory on clay court and in such a difficult tournament gives me a lot of confidence to face the upcoming competitions, especially Roland Garros,” said Nishikori, who improved his match record against Andujar to 3-1.
''On match point I just closed my eyes and hit it,'' Nishikori said.
“I have to come back to Barcelona, I feel very comfortable here, so I’ll do everything I can to be back again next year.”
Andujar, who played his first ATP 500 final, was satisfied with his performance at the Real Club Tenis Barcelona.
“I am very satisfied with the match and above all the week,” said the 29-year-old Andujar. “But against the great players, and Nishikori is one of them, you cannot waste your opportunities. I didn’t manage to close out the second set when I had the chance.”
Players to have clinched successive Conde de Godo trophies include Rafael Nadal (2005 to 2009 and 2011 to 2013), Thomas Muster (1995 and ‘96), Andres Gomez (1989 and ‘90), Mats Wilander (1982 to ‘84), Ivan Lendl (1980 and ‘81), Ilie Nastase (1973 and ’74), Martin Mulligan (1967 and ’66), Roy Emerson (1963 and ’64), and Herbert Flam (1956 and ’57).