World No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets on Sunday afternoon at the inaugural Rio Open, winning his first clay court tournament of the season and his second overall in 2014.
The Spaniard took the first set in comfortable fashion, needing only one break to snatch the opener 6-3 over his Ukrainian opponent. Rafa faced some resistance from Dolgopolov midway through the set at 4-2, as he needed to save three break point chances against him to jump to a 5-2 lead. Following a quick hold from Dolgopolov in the following game, Nadal closed out the set to give himself the lead.
The top seed continued to dominate the match-up early in the second set, breaking Dolgopolov to jump to a 3-1 lead. The Ukrainian kept the match competitive, forcing Nadal to serve out the match at 5-4. Tensions rose during the final game, as Dolgopolov managed to force a fourth break point on Nadal’s serve, this time successfully breaking back with a scorching forehand winner. He would go on to hold serve, boosting himself to 6-5 in the 2nd set, and forcing Nadal to serve to stay in the set and send it to a tiebreaker.
Nadal, who had won all six of his tiebreakers this season, controlled the majority of the match from then on to reach a 5-2 lead, before ultimately closing out the match 6-3, 7-6(3).
The world No. 1 has now won 66 career titles, with this being his 43rd championship on clay.