Sun, 20 Jun 2021

Rafael Nadal cruises into Madrid Open last 16

News24
06 May 2021, 04:14 GMT+10

Rafael Nadal began his bid for a sixth Madrid Open title in simple fashion on Wednesday, easing past youngster Carlos Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 to reach the last 16.

Nadal, who returned to number two in the world last week after his thrilling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona final, strolled past his 18-year-old opponent in the Spanish capital.

Ranked 120 in the world, Alcaraz walked out to fans singing 'happy birthday' as he celebrated his birthday playing against his childhood idol.

Alcaraz battled bravely and even broke his compatriot Nadal's serve in the second set but was predictably overwhelmed by one of the game's greats in a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.

"The victory in Barcelona helped me a lot. Things have got better since," said Nadal, reserving special praise for his vanquished opponent.

"He's a youngster who is coming on strongly, who has enormous potential, and the only thing he needs is time."

Nadal will take on Alexei Popyrin in the next round after the Australian knocked out rising star Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.

Clay king Nadal will already have his eyes on a record-extending 14th French Open triumph, where victory this year would also edge him ahead of Roger Federer's 20 major titles and to the top of the all-time men's list.

Earlier second seed Daniil Medvedev, returning to the circuit after testing positive for Covid-19 in mid-April, picked up his first win on clay for two years when he came back from a set down to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Russian has always struggled on clay.

In four attempts, he has failed to get past the first round of the French Open. Nor has he won a match in Rome while this was his first win in Madrid in his third appearance.

"I love clay," he said ironically into the camera at the end of the match.

In total, the 2021 Australian Open finalist has only 11 wins on the surface although he will have the chance to make that 12 when he takes on Cristian Garin in the last 16.

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev swept past Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.

World number nine Diego Schwartzman was dumped out by Aslan Karatsev 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. In-form Russian Karatsev will take on Alexander Bublik in the next round.

2nd rd

Alexander Zverev (GER x5) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3, 6-2

Cristian Garin (CHI x16) bt Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-3, 6-4

Quarter-finals

Source: News24

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