Rafael Nadal plays in Spain for the final time, five-time Madrid Open champion bows out at Caja Magica

Wednesday, 01 May 2024 at 00:10
Although he can be more than proud of his participation in the 2024 Madrid Open, considering that he did not arrive at the tournament in optimal physical condition and that he gifted three victories of great merit, Rafael Nadal has been eliminated from the tournament against Jiri Lehecka. The Spaniard competed well, but the Czech was superior and prevailed by 5-7, 4-6.
In the first set, Nadal began showing himself very solid with his first two service games, although Lehecka would do the same with his, including a game to love to level the score 2-2. With 4-3, Rafa would have his first big opportunity thanks to a double fault from the Czech, leaving Nadal with a break point. However, Lehecka would save it and would return the tie, 4-4.
The set reached its most important games this way. Nadal remained very firm with his serves, and went up 5-4 without having conceded a single break point. However, at 5-5 the most delicate moment for the Spaniard would come, with him being 0-40 down, leaving Lehecka with three break points. On the first one, the Czech broke Nadal's serve and served to win the set. That's how it would be, and Lehecka took the first set by 5-7.
Despite Rafa having played at a high level during the first set, this would not be enough for the Spaniard because Jiri Lehecka was simply spectacular. If Nadal wanted to turn the match around, he would have to perform another one of his miracles.
This is the first time Nadal doesn't reach at least Quarterfinals at Madrid Open since 2012
In the second set, however, things were not going to start well for Rafa Nadal. Lehecka broke his serve right away, and confirmed the break to go up 0-2. Nadal, as always in the most difficult moments, would summon strength to win with his service the longest game of the match by far, with which he would save three break points to make it 1-2 in search of a comeback.
But Jiri Lehecka continued with his game. With a game to love, he got 1-3. Although Nadal continued fighting, the Czech did not allow him any opportunities with his service. As a result, Lehecka would maintain the advantage until the end, and winning the second set by 4-6 closed the match. In the quarterfinals, he will face Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the semifinals of the Madrid Open.

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