Nadal beats Thiem to win 10th title in Barcelona

Nadal beats Thiem to win 10th title in Barcelona

Nadal beats Thiem to win 10th title in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal hailed a "dream start" to his clay court season after romping to his 10th Barcelona Open on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Austria's Dominic Thiem.

The world number nine dropped his first set of the tournament against world number one Andy Murray, who was participating in Barcelona for the first time since 2012.

The second set was a procession as Thiem's frustration at his inability to break through Nadal's defences saw him consistently fire long. The 23-year-old Austrian will be competing in his 12th final on the ATP World Tour and he has a good record in finals by winning eight and losing just three.

Another week, another title for Rafael Nadal, who has quickly affirmed himself as the French Open favorite with a month to go before Paris. He did win the Rio Open in February but apart from that his best performances have been in the Mexican Open and the Indian Wells where he reached the quarter-finals.

"Last week I had 4-0, I felt like I had all of the chances and sometimes on clay matches happen this way so I'm very happy to get through".

Thiem, a French Open semifinalist last spring and a semifinal victor over world No. 1 Andy Murray on Saturday, threw everything he had at Nadal in the first set.

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The Scot had to stave off another break point in a marathon opening game to the second set.

Murray fell for the first time in three meetings with Thiem. "I'll go home to Mallorca and have some rest, then start to think about Madrid and Rome" added Nadal.

He was unable to capitalise on two break points in the sixth game, however, four games later he clinched the first set with a powerful second-serve return that Thiem could only net.

"I really enjoyed the week in Barcelona", Thiem said. "It's mind-blowing, because I've played him there". He didn't hit many unforced errors and give me any free points.

Mladenovic ousted two-time defending champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday and is one of several players who has criticized Sharapova for her doping violation, but the Russian said she will not use it as added motivation in their semifinal on Saturday.

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