Rafael Nadal's 2022 Rome campaign enjoyed a smooth start on Wednesday afternoon as the legendary Spaniard blunted the big-serving John Isner to seal a 6-3, 6-1 second-round win at the event.
Nadal identified his hold in the seventh game of the first set as the key turning point in his eighth tour-level win over Isner. He explained;
“I finished better than how I started, without a doubt. The beginning of the match was not good for me. He had some chances on the return and had two break points. [He had] two not difficult balls so I was in his hands at that moment. I was lucky that he missed those shots and then I was able to break. Then the match changed, of course. With the first set on the board, and having the break in the first game of the second [set], everything changed.”
The win continued Nadal’s comeback to competitive action after he reached the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open last week following a six-week layoff due to a rib injury. He further added:
“I just focussed on myself," added Nadal when asked about his second-set improvement. "I focussed on trying to keep going. I knew I had to do things better than I had done, and I need to practise to try and do it better and better.”