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Nadal remains king of clay after Barcelona win

WORLD No. 1 Rafael Nadal powered to his fifth consecutive Barcelona Open title with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Spanish compatriot David Ferrer.

Top seed Nadal, who also beat Ferrer in last year's final, exchanged early breaks with the fourth seed on the clay on Sunday before racing into a 5-2 lead and taking the set.

Ferrer put up more of a fight in the second set as the pair broke each other twice but lost his serve again in the 11th game and Nadal sealed victory on his second match point when Ferrer sent a forehand long.

"This is much more than a dream for me," Nadal said after lifting the huge Conde de Godo trophy.

"I never could have imagined I'd be here winning for a fifth time," he added. "Congratulations to David. Even though it was not possible for him today he played a great tournament."

Nadal said he had been impressed with Ferrer's fightback in the second set.

"When he is playing aggressively like that he is hard to dominate," he said.

"I was very happy with my game today and I think it was my best performance so far this year on clay."

The 22-year-old Mallorcan has only lost four times on his favored surface since 2005, most recently to fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero at last year's Rome Masters when he was not fully fit.

He became the first man to win five successive Monte Carlo Masters titles last weekend and is favorite for a fifth straight French Open crown when the grand slam begins in Paris next month.

He also holds the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles and now heads to the Italian capital where he will bid for a fourth Rome Masters triumph. "I will try to carry my good form on into Rome," Nadal said. "If I manage to play at my best there I have a good chance."


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