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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2007, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Nadal seals Barcelona hat-trick
Rafael Nadal
Nadal has matched Mats Wilander's Barcelona achievement
Rafael Nadal became only the second player to win the Barcelona Open three times in a row after beating Guillermo Canas 6-3 6-4 in Sunday's final.

One break in each set was enough to give Nadal victory and help the Spaniard emulate the achievements of former world number one Mats Wilander.

Victory over Argentine Canas also extended Nadal's record-winning streak on clay to 72 matches.

The world number two has now won 20 career titles, 15 of them on clay.

Canas came into the final with a 21-4 record for the season, including a title in Brazil and a final in Miami, but that meant little against a player who has now beaten him three times.

Nadal has not lost on clay since April 2005 and it never looked likely here.

Canas rallied briefly in the last two games of the match, saving three match points before going down.

"It's great to win again at home," said Nadal.

"This streak is not a normal thing, and I know it will end some day. But I'm only thinking about playing each match well."

Canas only returned to the tuor in September after a 15-month doping ban, and is working his way back up the world rankings.

And he said he would be a serious contender at next month's French Open in Paris.

"I think I am in the top five contenders for Roland Garros," he said.

"I think I am playing very well, I am playing with a lot of confidence and my level is good. There was not much difference between me and Rafa, just a few points.

"I knew, even in September, that I was playing well, so it is not totally unexpected but I did not expect the results so soon.

"My goal at the start of the year was to be in the top 20 by the end. I am now two places away from that."



SEE ALSO
Davydenko injury benefits Canas
27 Apr 07 |  Tennis
Nadal on the march in Barcelona
25 Apr 07 |  Tennis
Soderling worsens Gaudio's woes
24 Apr 07 |  Tennis
Struggling Stepanek crashes out
23 Apr 07 |  Tennis


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