Rafael Nadal labelled his win at the China Open on Sunday (8 October) as one of his best events of the year in terms of the quality of his game.
The Spaniard picked up his sixth title of 2017, which includes an unprecedented 10th French Open title and a third US Open title that cemented his place as the world number one.
Nadal and Roger Federer, who is ranked number two in the world, are battling for the coveted year-end number one ranking and the former has strengthened his position with his win in Beijing.
He is now 2360-points ahead of his long-time rival and is favourite to finish the year as the top ranked men's singles player. He also has one title more than Federer after he went into the event tied on five apiece.
Nadal's win against Nick Kyrgios in the finals makes it 12 straight match wins and remains undefeated since he became number one on 21 August. The 31-year-old last won the China Open in 2005 when it was an ATP 250 event, but it has since changed to a 500 event. Nadal revealed that it was an important title for him and is delighted that he came through a tough draw to win the title.
The 16-time men's singles Grand Slam champion had to save two match points in his opening game against Lucas Pouille, but since then was assured in his performances, which included wins over big serving John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-finals and Kyrgios in the summit clash.
"It is an important title for me," Nadal said, as quoted on ATP's official site. "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," he explained.