Rafa is yet again telling the world why even in the twilight of his career he remains arguably the best clay court player on tour.
In the past 24 hours, Nadal has produced two games of such an absolute masterclass and precision, that make it hard to believe that the Spaniard is 34 and is going through perhaps one of the worse seasons of his clay-court career.
While yesterday, he came from behind in an absolute epic manner to school Shapovalov in a stunning 3 set win, today, in an entirely contrasting manner, Nadal wrapped up a dominant straight-sets win over Alexander Zverev. While the match over Shapovalov was a testament to his great grit, the win over Zverev a show of his great talent.
Nadal Gains Zverev Revenge In Rome-
Exactly one week on from his quarter-final loss to Alexander Zverev at the Mutua Madrid Open, Rafael Nadal took his revenge against the German on Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
In the first set, Nadal used his forehand to control the centre of the court and found consistent success behind his second-serve return (9/13). The 35-time Masters 1000 titlist raced into a 4-0 lead, but Zverev played with increased aggression from the baseline to reduce the gap. When serving for the set at 5-3, Nadal targeted Zverev’s backhand to save break point and convert his first set point.
Also read:Madrid Open 2021: Alexander Zverev defeats Berrettini to lift 2nd Title
Down 0/40 on his serve at 1-2 in the second set, Rafa played his way out of trouble with strong serving and powerful forehands.
The second seed carried his momentum into the following game, where he dragged his opponent out of position with his forehand and broke serve with a series of topspin backhands.
Nadal saved a further five break points in the second set and he clinched his place in the semi-finals by serving and volleying on his first match point and eventually clinching the match 6-3,6-4.
“[I am] happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to,” Nadal said in his post-match interview. “[It is] an important victory for me against a great player.”
Rafa is now just two wins away from equalling Novak Djokovic’s record haul of 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles. The 34-year-old is also attempting to win 10 or more titles at a single event for the fourth time. Nadal already owns 13 Roland Garros crowns, 12 Barcelona trophies and 11 Monte-Carlo titles.
Twitter erupts after Rafa vs Shapovalov epic-
Rafael Nadal has completed one of the most extraordinary comebacks of his career, saving two match points to beat Denis Shapovalov in Rome.
Nadal won 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) after nearly 3 hours and 30 minutes on court against the 13th-seeded Shapovalov at the Italian Open on Thursday.
Nadal will next face the American younster Reilly Opelka,who defetaed F. Delbonis 7-5,7-6,for a spot in the finals.