Hamburg, Aug 3 (IANS/EFE) Spain’s Rafael Nadal, the top seed, beat Italy’s Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Hamburg Open in Germany.
The win on Sunday gave Nadal his third title of the season and 67th career championship, with 47 of them coming on clay.
The 29-year-old Nadal got a rare taste of victory in what has been a tough season and took care of some unfinished business with Fognini, who had beaten him in the Rio de Janeiro semis and in the round of 16 at Barcelona.
Nadal, who had not played since being knocked out of Wimbledon by German journeyman Dustin Brown in the second round on July 2, saw his play improve throughout the week in Hamburg.
The world No. 10 improved his 2015 record on clay to 26-6 and is now two wins shy of the record held by former Argentine great Guillermo Vilas.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion, who has struggled this season on all surfaces and seen his ranking slip to its lowest point since April 2005, opted to play this clay-court event to boost his confidence ahead of the start of the North American hard-court season, which will culminate with the US Open.
The Flushing Meadows event is to be played from August 31 to September 13.