Rafa Wins In Rio

World number one Rafael Nadal won the ATP Rio Open on Sunday after seeing off Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov in straight sets in the final.

The ATP Rio Open is in it’s inaugural season on the ATP and WTA calendar and is the only combined ATP and WTA tournament in South America.  It is played on 8 eight clay courts at the Jockey Club Brasiliero which includes a 6 200-seater stadium.

Nadal faced the Ukrainian in the final and saw off the world number 54 6-3 and 7-6 to add to his impressive silverware collection.

Nadal broke first in the match in the 4th game to lead 3-1 and would eventually take the set 6-3 in a time of 38 minutes.  The Spaniard was back to his best after a sluggish performance against his semi-final opponent, countryman Pablo Adujar.  Dolgopolov was doing well to stick with the world number one but was not able to to make the most of his break point opportunities of which he had three and failed to convert any.

In the second set Nadal broke early once again in the third game of the set to lead 2-1, however in the tenth game the left-hander was serving for the championship but was halted by Dolgopolov who broke back.  After both players held their respective service games the match was taken into a tie break.  Nadal raced to 6-3 lead in the tie break and after a return from Dolgopolov went wide Nadal took the mach to win his 44th clay tile and 3rd title in Brazil.

Brazilian tennis legend Gustavo Kuerten was part of the presentation party and presented the winners trophy to Nadal who said, “Thank you to Gustav for presenting me with the trophy it is a great honor.”  Nadal ended his speech by saying, “I will see you next year” which would have pleased many sponsors, tournament organizers and fans alike.

Dolgopolov was wearing a black ribbon in support of his home country Ukraine in the wake of the violence that has claimed many lives over the past few weeks and showed his support by saying, “I would like to send some support to my country as we have had some trouble recently and I hope that it will be as peaceful as I left it a while ago.”