Rafael Nadal

Tennis: Nadal suffers but awaits Alcaraz in Madrid – 05/05/2022, 21:10



Spaniard Rafael Nadal against Belgian David Goffin in the last 16 of the Masters 1000 in Madrid, 5 May 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)

Rafael Nadal has suffered more than three hours this week, a month and a half after a stress fracture in a rib, losing four match points to advance to the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 in Madrid on Thursday. phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz.

Under the rediscovered Madrid sun, Nadal had to grit his teeth to beat Belgian David Goffin, who is now 60th, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (11/9) after a long left knee. injury.

Alcaraz, who won his first Master 1000 in Miami at the beginning of April and entered the top 10 after his victory in Barcelona ten days ago, faces him in the evening (from 20:00) against Briton Cameron Norrie (11th).

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz against England's Cameron Norrie in the last 16 of the Madrid tournament, 5 May 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz against England’s Cameron Norrie in the last 16 of the Madrid tournament, 5 May 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)

“It was an incredible endgame that we should never have taken”, “Rafa” sums up.

The current world N.4 was indeed heading for a relatively quiet two-set victory, the first at 5-3 on Goffin’s serve, and the second at 5-4 on his own commitment, until he scored two first-game points. But he didn’t come back either, and instead let four games in a row slip away and found himself in a third set and extended play.

– “Till the end” –

“We know things aren’t perfect right now, I’m coming back from a period of no competition,” said the 35-year-old Spaniard, whose rib was broken in the semi-final match at Indian Wells on March 19. .. Alcaraz. All I can ask of myself right now is to fight to the end, and with your help I did it.”

Rafael Nadal after his victory over David Goffin in Madrid on May 5, 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)

Rafael Nadal after his victory over David Goffin in Madrid on May 5, 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)

No doubt physically damaged after six weeks of competition, including a full month without training, Nadal was less sharp and less active in the second half of the match. His shots, which were still certain a moment ago, were no longer there, he hurt the ball less, stayed further from his line and made more mistakes: all this allowed Goffin to improve his game, that’s what the Belgian has great merit. path.

In contrast, Goffin thus got two first chances in the decisive game of the third set, 6 points 4, then a third at 7-6 and a fourth at 9-8. But if Nadal loses, he will never be broken and in his fourth game, he will be the winner by 11 points 9.

The day before, Majorcan started its season – late but convincingly – against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic (32nd), one of the players who played in the first part of the 2022 season on dirt ground and lost 6-1, 7-6 ( 7/4) .

– Without playing Djokovic –

Serbia's Novak Djokovic against France's Gaël Monfils at the Madrid tournament on May 3, 2022 (AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic against France’s Gaël Monfils at the Madrid tournament on May 3, 2022 (AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS)

Prior to that, he had not played since March 20, when he lost in the final at Indian Wells (6-3, 7-6 against Taylor Fritz). He later had to give up the Monte-Carlo and Barcelona tournaments.

Two and a half weeks before his thirteen-time victory at Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5), Nadal requested playing time, here it is served!

“I needed that. Not so much, he smiled to come with a little more assurance tomorrow (Friday). But I know how I got here, I know it’s a complicated week, and whatever happens tomorrow, it’s to have won two.” The matches here are great news for me.”

If Nadal suffers, world N.1 Novak Djokovic benefiting from the Andy Murray package, to a lesser extent (6-3, 1-0, left) as ailing and N.3 and trophy winner Alexander Zverev abandoned Italian Lorenzo Musetti after ten games thigh), saved their energies.

The other four qualifying stages in the program have all ended in straight sets.

World number 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas from Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov (20th) 6-3, 6-4, Félix Auger-Aliassime (10th) Jannik Sinner (12th) 6-1, 6-2, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (14th). ) defeated Serbs Dusan Lajovic (77th) 7-5, 6-3 and Andrey Rublev (8th), beating Briton Daniel Evans (36th) 7-6 (9/7) and 7-5 It took about two and a half hours.

In the quarter-finals against Djokovic Hurkacz, Zverev Auger-Aliassime and Tsitsipas Rublev.



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