Tennis fans were treated to an exciting clay-court tournament at the Jockey Club Brasileiro from the amazing city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This competition did not draw an elite field, especially for the women's side, but there certainly was enough talent to make it interesting.
That started at the top with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal looking to flash his clay mastery over his peers and, in many cases, his countrymen. Nadal wound up winning the final over upstart underdog Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Sunday.
Fellow Spaniard and world No. 4 David Ferrer was the next-highest-ranked man in this field, and the Spanish infusion can be felt throughout. Nadal had eight countrymen in his half of the draw, and while Ferrer fell to Dolgopolov in the semifinals, the eventual champion fought a tense third-set, 12-10 tiebreaker at that stage to beat compatriot and eighth seed Pablo Andujar.
Nadal, as suggested from this quote via ATPWorldTour.com, appeared happy to have the new Brazil event on his schedule prior to taking the court:
I am looking forward to playing for the first time ever in Rio de Janeiro. I have heard so much about the city, and now I will finally have the opportunity to be there. All around the world, when I play, I can feel the love of the Brazilian people.
Since Nadal can feel the love of the Brazilians when he plays in places as far away as Australia or London, he could have been too overwhelmed with emotion to carry out his matches while playing in front of what will presumably be a predominant Brazilian crowd. If he was, it didn't show as he took home yet another singles title.
Nadal weathered his emotions just fine and gave the crowds a worthy show.
Check out this wonderful view passed along from the Rafaholics Twitter account, which created an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for this tournament as spectators witnessed one of the best tennis players ever at the top of his game:
Center Court at the Rio Open is beautiful! love the mountain view! pic.twitter.com/pzTRsSEsm3— Rafaholics™ (@Rafaholics) February 15, 2014
This continues Nadal's reign atop tennis' summit. The Rio Open 500 was just a couple of weeks away from Carnival and for a country just a few months away for the World Cup, all that was left was for the tennis savants to strut their stuff.