Rafa Nadal underlined his crushing dominance on clay when he overwhelmed Spanish compatriot David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4 to win a sixth Barcelona Open title in seven years on Sunday.
The world number one followed up his victory over Ferrer in last week's Monte Carlo Masters final with a display of brutal hitting and near-impeccable defence to become the first player in the Open era to win two tournaments at least six times.
His run in Barcelona, where he beat Ferrer in the 2008 and 2009 title matches, was interrupted by his withdrawal last year due to injury, while his triumph in Monaco was his seventh straight title at the event.
"It's incredible to come back here to my tournament and my fans after not being able to play last year," Nadal said in an interview with Spanish television before hoisting aloft the huge Conde de Godo trophy.
"I am very, very happy for the win and sorry for David, who is having a fantastic year and deserves a title," he added.
"It's bad luck for him having to play me in three finals but it's my sixth title here and it's a huge delight."
Nadal's latest success on the red dust was the 24-year-old Mallorcan's 31st clay title, putting him one clear of Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes on the all-time winners list and third behind Guillermo Vilas (45) and Thomas Muster (40).
In breezy conditions, Nadal was only troubled for brief periods by the zippy Ferrer, who made too many unforced errors against his relentless Davis Cup team mate.
The 29-year-old had beaten Nadal in the quarter-finals of this year's Australian Open, ending his hopes of holding all four grand slam titles at the same time.
He mounted something of a fightback to take a 4-2 lead in the second set before Nadal upped his game and sealed victory on his first match point when Ferrer sent the ball into the tramlines.
Nadal's semi-final win over Croat Ivan Dodig was his 500th career win, making him the second-youngest man ever to reach the milestone after Borg.
The European clay swing next takes him to Madrid, where he will defend the Masters title he has won twice, before attempting to secure a sixth Rome Masters and a sixth French Open crown.
Photograph: Getty Images