(April 27, 2014) Kei Nishikori beat Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-2 to win the Barcelona Open for his first career title on clay, and fifth title of his career and second on the year.
“I was playing well. I felt I should be in the final and I’m very happy to win,” Nishikori said.
“This title and [my run in] Miami helped my confidence, especially this week on clay. There are three big tournaments coming up in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros so I hope I can do well and increase my [Emirates ATP Rankings] points. My next goal is to get to the Top 10.”
“I feel great about the week,” said Colombian player Giraldo. It was not an easy day for me. Kei played very good. I have good feelings about my play and my improvement.”
Nishikori’s title marks the first time the title was claimed by a non-Spaniard in Barcelona in 12 years, since Argentine Gaston Gaudio won in 2002.
Coached by former French Open winner Michael Chang and Dante Bottini, Nishikori talked about comfort on clay.
“I was good on clay when I was little,” Nishikori said. “I was winning all the European juniors events. Now it’s much tougher than hard courts and I was struggling a bit, but I’ve been playing well these past couple years so there’s no fear to play on clay.”
Nishkori, the top Japanese player, will move him up to No. 12 in the rankings on Monday, just shy of 11th, his career high.