Since yesterday’s tough-fought semifinal, Rafa’s fans have been anticipating match time with bated breath. We can now collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Rafael Nadal defeated Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in this much anticipated Rio final in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(3). It was Nadal’s 43rd clay title and stretches his record on the surface to 298-21, the best of the Open era.
We arrived at match time without knowing the condition of Rafa’s health and of the ailments he’d been troubled by, and the match couldn’t happen soon enough for us. The first set started with an easy hold for Rafa, and none of the signs of trouble that showed up early in the last match. Rafa broke to gain a lead, and, despite hitting only one winner, took the set at 6-3. Rafa broke early in the second set and consolidated to gain a 3-1 lead. Dolgopolov broke at a crucial moment, as Rafa was serving for the match, and consolidated to 5-6. Rafa forced the second set into a tiebreaker and took the set, and the match, at 7-6.
YOU DID IT, RAFA! Congratulations on your second title of the season, your first clay court win of the season! Hope you get some good time to rest and relax, and then we’ll be seeing you in Indian Wells! VAMOS!