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Rafael Nadal conquers Fognini to clinch Hamburg title

Hamburg: Top seed Rafael Nadal won the Hamburg claycourt title yesterday gaining a much-needed confidence boost after a slump in form, beating Italian eighth seed Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Italy's Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Hamburg Open yesterday. Pic/AFP
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Italy's Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Hamburg Open yesterday. Pic/AFP 

Nadal had been beaten twice previously this season by the experienced Fognini, in Rio de Janeiro and then in Barcelona. But he got his revenge in the here, recovering from being broken in the very first game of a tight opening set and eventually clinching the title on his first match point after more than two and a half hours on court.

Nadal has now won the Hamburg title twice after a previous success in 2008 — his last appearance — and has 47 claycourt titles. "I had some cramps which wasn't very pleasant," said 29-year-old Nadal.

"I lost the last two times against him, so I knew it was going to be a tough one. I had a great attitude the whole match, very positive, fighting for every ball. I had some tough moments on court but every time I came back and kept fighting with the right mentality. It's an important victory for me," said Nadal, who heads to the USA for the hardcourt season with the US Open starting in New York on August 31.

"The hardcourt season is starting, it's a different story, but this title helps to be a little bit more calm," he said.

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