World number one Rafael Nadal demolished Nick Kyrgios to win his sixth title of the season at the China Open. The Spaniard won nine games in a row on his way to a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 victory to reclaim the trophy he last won in 2005. Top-ranked Nadal, who was tied with Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev at five titles this season, picked up his 75th career singles trophy with the win in Beijing.
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Nadal’s latest triumph, following successes in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and grand slam glory in Paris and New York, came after the Spaniard saved two match points in his tournament opener against Lucas Pouille. Victory also further boosted the 16-time major champion’s chances of holding off Roger Federer to finish the season atop the rankings for the first time since 2013.
Despite losing, Kyrgios will climb to 15th in the ATP Race to next month’s World Tour Finals in London.
The last time Kyrgios played a No. 1 it was also against Nadal. In that 2014 Wimbledon fourth-round encounter, the then 144th-ranked Kyrgios emerged a four-set winner. This was Nadal’s second China Open title in four trips to the final. He won his first in his Beijing debut in 2005. Nadal leads Kyrgios 3-2 in career meetings, and 2-1 this season.
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