Rafael Nadal equals record as he rediscovers form on clay

Nadal has equalled Guillermo Vilas' record of 49 clay-court titleswith victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori

Rafael Nadal equals record as he rediscovers form on clay

Image: Manu Fernandez / AP/Press Association Images

Rafael Nadal has equalled the Guillermo Vilas' long standing record on clay-courts, as he picked up his 49th title yesterday.

The Spaniard overcame Kei Nishikori 6-4 7-5 in the final of the Barcelona Open to sit on the verge of breaking the Argentine's record.

"I think I served well which was very important," said the world number five. "The fact I had a good percentage of first serves allowed me to play better.

"In the second set I let a lot of opportunities go, but I am very happy to have resisted mentally and happy to win."

Nadal beat Andy Murray on his way to the Monte Carlo Masters title last weekend and has picked up 10 victories on clay so far this season.

Argentine Vilas won 49 clay-court titles in the 1970s, the last of which was in 1983.

Defending champion Nishikori was left to rue a number of mistakes and was denied a three-in-a-row at the event.

Nadal will compete in Rome and Madrid to try and break the record before the French Open which gets underway on 22 May.