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Rafa Reigns: Nadal Wins Brasil Open Title

Rafael Nadal earned a straight sets win over David Nalbandian to win his 37th clay court title in Sao Paulo.

By Erik Gudris

Rafael Nadal (February 17th, 2013) -- Though the ending to this week's often turbulent Brasil Open was a bit anticlimactic, it provided Rafael Nadal with a satisfying result as he claimed his first title in over eight months in today's finals.

With the indoor arena once again packed to the rafters with fans having to sit anywhere, including the aisles, the stage was set for what was hoped to be a tense duel between Nadal and his opponent David Nalbandian who had showed good form all week.

Though Nadal had often played below his usual high standards for most of the week, he likely knew he would have to raise his game against Nalbandian despite having won their last four meetings. Nadal gained the first break of serve to go up 4-2 in the opening set. After fighting off a break point against him in the next game, Nadal fired down an ace to go up 5-2.

Nadal soon claimed the set 6-2 when Nalbandian hit wide down set point.

But Nalbandian regrouped and opened the second set by breaking Nadal's serve. Nadal received a time violation warning in his next service game and that sent the Spaniard over the edge as he argued to no avail over the warning. Nalbandian broke serve again for 3-0 and appeared to have the set in his control.

That wouldn't be the case as Nadal refocused on the match while Nalbandian began offering up too many errors from his end. Nadal broke Nalbandian once and then again when Nalbandian netted a forehand.

At 3-all, Nadal took control and never allowed Nalbandian back in. Breaking again for 5-3, Nadal then served out the match as Nalbandian hit long on the final point. A jubilant Nadal celebrated his 6-2, 6-3 victory that gave him his first title in over eight months since winning Roland Garros last year.

For Nadal, the title is indeed cause for celebration after an up and down week that saw him pull out the doubles event with Nalbandian due to Nadal not wanting to overplay on his still sore knee. Nadal, in his press conference afterwards, admitted he is taking his comeback week by week and that nothing is for certain, leading some to wonder if he will compete at the upcoming hard court events at Indian Wells and Miami next month.

But for now, Nadal will relish his return to the winner's circle as he looks forward to a week of rest before setting sights on his next tourney stop -- the ATP 500 event in Acapulco.

(Photo Credit: AP/Andre Penner)


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