Rafael Nadal appears ready for another title run at the French Open, as the fifth-ranked player in the world rolled by fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro under a light drizzle at the Barcelona Open on Sunday, 6-4 6-3.
It was the eight Barcelona Open title for the 26-year-old, who grew up roughly 150 miles away on the island of Mallorca before moving to Barcelona when he was 14. Nadal, who was sidelined for several months with a knee injury, will look to defend his French Open title next month. He has won at Roland Garros in seven of the last eight years, and the Barcelona Open is often viewed as a key tune-up the major.
The opening set was not an easy one for Nadal. The aggressive Almagro broke his serve twice to take a 3-0 lead, but Nadal regained his form and won three of his next four service games at Real Club de Tenis.
"It was important for me to get the break down 3-0," Nadal said. "Almagro is having a great season and I wish him the best."
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Nadal has now won 39 straight matches in the tournament. He has never lost to the 12th-ranked Almagro in 10 meetings.
Earlier this month, Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in the final at the Monte Carlo Masters.
"I am very happy," Nadal said. "It has been an important week for me to win here again and a great source of joy after everything I have been through."