Rafael Nadal made winning look easy at the Madrid Open, and he'll be the big favorite to win this year's French Open starting later in May—the eighth of his career.
The Spaniard easily defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets on Sunday, 6-2, 6-4, capping off an impressive tournament with his third career title at the Mutua Madrid Open.
After his victory, Nadal had a bit of fun with champagne, as shown by ABS-CBN News Channel on Twitter (via Reuters):
ABS-CBN News Channel @ANCALERTS
PHOTO: Rafael Nadal sprays champagne after winning Madrid Open final vs Stanislas Wawrinka in Madrid (via REUTERS) http://t.co/sxTWl0LpBg5/12/2013, 5:51:37 PM
Since returning to the court after a seven-month layoff, while recovering from a knee injury, Nadal has appeared in the final of every single tournament he's entered, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Rafael Nadal def. Pablo Andujar in Madrid Open Semis. He's now reached the final in all 7 events he's played this season.5/11/2013, 4:45:16 PM
Nadal has won five titles and lost two finals, and there isn't a hotter player on the ATP Tour on the men's side than him right now.
Watching him play these days is like taking a look into the past. His knees are finally in good shape again, and the rest he received while recuperating has clearly been good for his body and mind.
His biggest and only true test came in the quarterfinal against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. After struggling to get into the match early, he dominated Ferrer in the final set and then didn't look back, beating Pablo Andujar and Wawrinka with ease in the semifinal and final.
There's no doubt that Nadal will be heavily favored to win this year's French Open. Even before his injury, he was difficult to defeat on clay, but now that Nadal has seemingly discovered the fountain of youth, he looks absolutely unstoppable.
He told reporters after his compelling victory on Sunday that he's playing better now than he did at Monte Carlo, according to Live Tennis:
He is hitting all his shots with confidence, he's getting anywhere on the court he wants to with speed and his energy is tangible.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and the rest of the world's best need to bring their best game to Roland Garros later this month, because Nadal looks like he could defeat anyone on clay right now, any time.
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