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Rafael Nadal cruises in 2017 China Open final for 75th career title

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal easily defeated Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 6-1 in the China Open final on Sunday to win his sixth title of the year and 75th of his career.

The top-seeded Spaniard was a force from the back of the court throughout the one-hour, 32-minute encounter on Beijing's hard courts against Kyrgios, the No. 8 seed from Australia. Nadal won nine games in a row on his way to reclaiming the trophy he won in 2005.

"It is an important title for me," Nadal said after the match. "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.

"First thing, the tournament is bigger than in 2005. It's a 500 event. Before it was 250. Every title later in your career is more special than when you were younger. I had very tough draw here. When I saw the draw at the beginning of the tournament, I knew that it will be very, very difficult to have good chances here. But I was lucky the first day saving the two match points. After that, I think I played one of the best events of the year, playing very solid the whole week and playing against very tough opponents."

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, saved 22 of 25 break points entering Sunday's clash and would deny all four he faced against the Kyrgios, who would strike 20 winners but was unable to overcome 35 unforced errors.

"I was playing very high intensity the whole match, changing the directions and not making many mistakes," Nadal said.

The 31-year-old Nadal, who remains undefeated since returning to world No. 1 on Aug. 21, tightened his grip on the top spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Now up to 2,360 points over Roger Federer, Nadal has put himself in prime position to cap his 2017 campaign in No. 1 fashion.

With his 75th crown, Nadal moves within two titles of John McEnroe for fourth on the Open Era list.

Nadal previously emerged victorious at the U.S. Open last month, in addition to 2017 wins at the French Open and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo and Madrid, as well as in Barcelona.

The 22-year-old Kyrgios, who was appearing in his second final of the season, is now 3-3 in ATP World Tour title matches.

"He played well. I played terrible. He's in great form. He just destroyed me today, so it was too good," Kyrgios said. "I put in a pretty good week, had some good wins. It's tough to find positives when you won three games in the final. But I guess there were positives."



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