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Spaniard Rafa Nadal won his 67th career title with a 7-5, 7-5 victory against Italian Fabio Fognini in the final of the Hamburg Open.

Nadal, a 14-time grand slam champion, has endured an indifferent season winning just two titles in Stuttgart and Buenos Aires prior to Sunday and has dropped to number 10 in the world rankings.

World number 32 Fognini, who won the Hamburg title in 2013, was aiming for a third claycourt victory against Nadal this season following successes in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

"It was a great match, many great points, many breaks, we fought hard," Nadal said.

"I had many ups and downs. It's an important title for me."

Nadal, whose previous air of invincibility on clay has begun to evaporate, hit just six winners and 15 unforced errors in an evenly contested opening set.

He was, however, aided by Fognini who was broken three times in the opening set and blundered 34 of his own unforced errors following a series of brutal baseline rallies.

The Italian eighth-seed played his part in an entertaining final crushing 39 winners to Nadal's 19.

With his 47th clay-court title, the former world number one Nadal has extended his run of having won at least one European clay-court title every year since 2004.

With his third title of the year, Nadal will rise one spot to ninth in the rankings.

Source: Agencies