It’s simple math. Two tournaments = two winners and in Barcelona and Bucharest we, not surprisingly (if you count on Nadal’s loss to Almagro of course!), had two young guys knocking on the top 10 door, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishkori. Nishikori jumps up to 12th place now and Dimitrov to the 13th. Well-deserved for the future in tennis and two talented and hard-working guys.
“It feels good to have won. I lifted my game, not having been happy with my previous matches in the tournament. I knew I had to lift my level, especially after the first set. Lukas is a very good winner, who hit some outstanding winners. It was a pleasure to play in front of Ilie Nastase and other greats. I have worked really hard to start winning titles. I have put in enough effort, time and sacrifices to get here.”
“I was playing well. I felt I should be in the final and I’m very happy to win. This title and [my run in] Miami helped my confidence, especially this week on clay. There are three big tournaments coming up in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros so I hope I can do well and increase my [Emirates ATP Rankings] points. My next goal is to get to the Top 10.”
Nishikori is known by his speed and looked ridiculously alert in Barcelona. Here are highlights from his toughest challenge, Ernest Gulbis:
And here are highlights from the final in Bucharest: Dimitrov’s win versus last year’s winner, Rosol.
The facts from ATP World Tour:
- Grigor Dimitrov earned his third ATP World Tour title and second of the season, after Acapulco (d. Anderson) in February.
- Dimitrov did not drop a set in four matches in Bucharest, including the 81-minute final against his Czech opponent. This was the 22 year old’s first outing as a tournament top seed.
- The Bulgarian will rise to a career-high No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday.
- Lukas Rosol had been aiming to become just the second player to retain his title at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament. Gilles Simon did so in 2008. Nishikori lifted his third different trophy at the ATP World Tour 500 level and first at a clay-court event after defeating Giraldo in 73 minutes.
- The Japanese No. 1 improves to 5-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Giraldo and ascends five spots to No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, one position shy of his career high.
- Nishikori’s title marks the first by a non-Spaniard in Barcelona in 12 years, since Argentine Gaston Gaudio prevailed in 2002.