Alexander Zverev sends legendary Rafael Nadal packing at potential final Roland Garros in 2022 semi-final revenge

Monday, 27 May 2024 at 18:27
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Under the watchful eyes of Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, among others, Rafael Nadal could not make them or the fans in attendance at the French Open dream.
The 14-time champion could not achieve the feat of toppling the World No.4 Alexander Zverev in a match that was won by the German 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 as he avenged his loss in the 2022 semi-finals.
In the first set, things were already going to start very uphill for Rafa. At the first change, Nadal suffered a break that already put Zverev ahead. With 2-1 against and the German serving, he had a golden opportunity leadin 15-40. However, Zverev managed to save the two break points and led 3-1 in his favor.
Nothing would change until the 5-3 in favor of Zverev, where Rafa managed to save two set points, but would not be able to do the same with a third. Nadal lost the first set 6-3. The Spaniard was very nervous trying to win the points as fast as he could, which caused many errors in his strokes. Starting the next set with Zverev serving, moreover, was an added handicap.
The second set was to have a very different development to the first, where Nadal was down on the scoreboard throughout its course. Here, Rafa saved two break points and came back to 2-2 and then get his first break of the match. With a very solid serve in these early stages of the set, he certified the break and went 2-4 up.
However, Rafa was to falter just at the worst moment. With 4-5 up and serving to win the second set, Zverev got three break points, and confirmed the break in the first of them. 5-5 and a new scenario ahead. Nadal then had two break points at 15-40, but the German saved both and forced the Spaniard to win his serve to at least send the set to tie break. And so it was to be.
In the tie break, Nadal started losing his serve at 1-1. With 2-1 down, he returned the mini break to Zverev. With 3-3 he lost his serve again, and although with 5-3 he got a mini break, he lost again with 5-4 so that the German, with 6-4 up and serving, managed to take a tremendous second set where Nadal had his chances to tie.
In the third set, Nadal got off to a good start by breaking Zverev's serve at 0-1 up to take a 0-2 lead. However, the German responded immediately with another break, and with his serve he equalized 2-2. Here would be one of the longest games of the match, with Rafa saving four break points to make it 2-3 in his favor. Even so, at 3-3 he could not prevent Zverev from breaking his serve again, taking a 4-3 lead and serving.
Here came the last bullet for Nadal. The Spaniard was 15-40 with two break points with a chance to equalize the set. However, Zverev saved both of them, won the game and went 5-3 up, putting his victory on track. The German was going to get it, moreover, with a final break that sent Nadal home 6-3. Farewell to Rafael Nadal who made us dream for the last time at Roland Garros or is it?

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