Rafael Nadal was forced into a third set before the world number one piled the pressure on Grigor Dimitrov to reach the final of the China Open on Saturday.
Despite his advancing years Nadal is enjoying a stellar season following a catalogue of injuries in previous seasons, winning five titles including the US Open and French Open.
"This is a title that last time that I had the trophy with me was in 2005". Before it was 250 or 175 at that moment.
Now up to 2,360 points over Swiss maestro Roger Federer, Nadal has put himself in prime position to cap his 2017 campaign in No. 1 fashion.
"I had very tough draw here. That's very hard", Sport24 quoted Nadal as saying.
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Speaking of the match, Nadal said, "I think I played one of my best events of the year".
"It is normal that at some point these kind of players that are playing a lot of matches and a lot of years in a row, at some point they have some problems". But Nadal, who defeated the 22-year-old on the clay of Madrid earlier this year, executed his revenge on Sunday.
The world-ranked 19 displayed his best side in forcing Nadal to 2-2 in the first set, but his other side emerged later. The young big server fired 20 winners in the 92-minute fight, but was defeated by his 35 unforced errors. For the record, the Spaniard is still undefeated since returning to World No. 1 in August.
"I guess I put in a pretty good week, had some good wins.In the semifinal I played well, obviously beating Alex". "He's one of the players with more talent on the tour".