When Rafa was two match points down against Lucas Pouille in the first round I figured this would be a very short tournament. But, of course, this is Rafa. He saved those match points and went on to win that set and the next to take the match, 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-5.
"Was a very tough first round, as I say the other day. He played well… Very aggressive. He's serving well. For me was little bit difficult at the beginning. Then I started to play better."
When he went 0-40 down in the opening game of his next match, against Karen Khachanov, it looked like we were in for a tough battle. But he saved those break points (and every other one in the match) and went on to win with relative ease, 6-3, 6-3.
"Today I think I played a good match. I won 6-3, 6-3, but you never know. He had some breakpoints at the beginning of the match. Then he had two more breakpoints. Matches in tennis changes very quick. Anything could happen."
John Isner played very well to beat Rafa in the Laver Cup just over a week ago so I wasn't feeling exactly complacent about this one. Predictably, Isner started off with three aces but Rafa managed to break him in the 9th game. The second set, again predictably, went to a tiebreak but Rafa stormed through it without losing a point. Game, set and match, Rafa, 6-4, 7-6(0).
"I think I played a solid match. I played very well, changing good directions. I'm play very focus all the time, no? I think on return I did well. When I had the chance to touch the ball, I think I putted a lot of balls inside. So very happy for that. Is an important victory for me, of course. Is against a player that arrived here playing so well, winning two great matches. For me is an important one and I'm very happy."
In the semi final he faced Grigor Dimitrov who had beaten him in the quarter finals last year.
It was a tight match with both players having their chances. Rafa was a set and a break up before Dimitrov fought back to take the second set. Rafa got an early break in the 3rd set and hammered home the advantage with two more breaks to win the match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
"I think I was playing great. I played a great first set, in my opinion. I was playing good at the beginning of the second, I find the rhythm at the beginning of then third again. I think I played a great third set."
In the final he was up against Nick Kyrgios. You never know what you're going to get with him. Rafa had beaten him easily in Madrid but then lost in straight sets to him in Cincinnati.
This time Kyrgios lost the plot early in the first set and grumbled his way through the match. Afterwards he said, "He played well. I played terrible. He's in great form. He just destroyed me today." Rafa won easily, 6-2, 6-1.
"It is an important title for me," said Nadal. "The last year that I had the trophy with me was in 2005... It is completely different. I don't even remember that one. The feeling is probably better this year."
So that takes Rafa's career titles total to 75.