Nadal wins Mercedes Cup, his first grass title since Wimbledon 2010
His last grass final was at Wimbledon in 2011 when he lost to Novak Djokovic.sports Updated: Jun 14, 2015 23:58 IST
Rafael Nadal earned his second title of the season and his fourth on grass as he defeated Serb Viktor Troicki 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Sunday to become the first man to triumph on both clay and turf at the Stuttgart Open.
The Spanish top seed set another minor record, as he won the inaugural grass edition after taking clay trophies here in 2005 and 2007. Stuttgart made the switch to grass starting with this edition as part of the new Wimbledon pre-season.
Nadal's 66th career title marked his second in 2015 after claiming a trophy on South American clay in February. The Spaniard now owns two grass titles at Wimbledon, one at Queen's Club, London, and now at Stuttgart.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion who is ranked 10th, polished his record against eighth seed Troicki to 5-0, last facing the Serb in a Tokyo semi-final nearly five years ago. Nadal took victory as he played his his 95th career final, now standing 66-29 in finals. His last grass final was at Wimbledon in 2011 when he lost to Novak Djokovic. Troicki was playing his seventh career final - and first on grass - and now stands 2-5 in title matches.
Nadal's victory boosted him to 33-10 this season as he prepares for what he hopes is a better second half of 2015. He is now 17-2 in Stuttgart, where he last competed eight years ago. "I'm not bothered by the expectations of others," said the 29-year-old. "I'm only motivated by my own goals. There is no pressure on me.
"It's fantastic to win here on grass after winning on clay. Victor is a tough opponent. But I've been gaining confidence over the past month and a half after a very poor first three and a half months of this season.
"I've been feeling my game better since after my first match in Monte Carlo (mid-April). It was mentally tiring for me to play tennis in the first part of the year. I was not feeling comfortable on court.
"I was not able to play the way that I wanted. I didn't feel confidence. But that has been changing and my focus now is to prepare as best as I can for Wimbledon."
Nadal added: "My level has always been there, I've not forgotten how to play tennis. But now things are coming together for me."
Nadal spent 48 minutes in winning the opening set, which he took into a tiebreaker with a love game. The top seed grabbed the early 4-2 lead in the decider and fired a ninth ace to wrap up the opener.
In the second, the Spaniard broke for 3-1 and took victory on his third match point, ending with 11 aces in the 88-minute contest.
France's Nicolas Mahut celebrates his victory over Belgium's David Goffin in the final of the Topshelf Tennis tournament in Rosmalen, Netherlands. (AFP Photo)
Unseeded Mahut and 5th-seeded Giorgi win Topshelf Open
Frenchman Nicolas Mahut won his third career title after beating second-seeded David Goffin 7-6 (1), 6-1 at the Topshelf Open on Sunday, while fifth-seeded Camila Giorgi of Italy won the women's final.
Giorgi clinched her first career title with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic.
Goffin had more aces than Mahut - four compared to two - but failed to convert any of his three break points. Mahut, who won here in 2013, broke Goffin three times.
Mahut mixed his game up well with driving passing shots and slices. After closing out the win with a volley, he thrust his arms in the air. The 33-year-old Frenchman's other title was also on grass two years ago at Newport, Rhode Island.
The 23-year-old Giorgi, who had lost her three previous finals, proved too strong on serve. She had eight aces, lost only 19 points in 11 service games, and offered no break points to her 18-year-old opponent.
Giorgi, who saved three match points in her quarterfinal win over Yaroslava Shvedova, is the fourth player this year to save match points on the way to a WTA title, joining Andrea Petkovic, Sara Errani, and Daniela Hantuchova.
(With inputs from AFP and AP)
First Published: Jun 14, 2015 23:33 IST