Spanish king Rafael Nadal rules over Alex de Minaur, into Madrid Open third round after sensational win

Saturday, 27 April 2024 at 18:20
rafael nadal rg 2020 1
Rafael Nadal returned to the center court of the Madrid Open two days after crushing the young promise of the ATP Darwin Blanch in the first round by 6-1 and 6-0. This time his opponent was from a different category. It was Alex de Miñaur, world number 11 and his tormentor a few days earlier at the Barcelona Open. Well, the Spaniard has proved to be immortal and has taken his revenge, winning 7-6(6) and 6-3.
As always when Nadal plays, the presence of personalities in the stands was noticeable. Not even the King of Spain, Felipe VI, wanted to miss the event. At his side, José Luis Martínez Almeida, mayor of Madrid. Also present were Vinicius Junior, star of Real Madrid Football Club, Zinedine Zidane, soccer legend, and Sergio Llull, historic and current Real Madrid Basketball player.
The audience was ready to go crazy with every point Rafa Nadal got. The Spaniard started in a flurry. He broke de Miñaur's serve at the first change and was placed at the beginning with a break up. With 2-1 on the scoreboard and serve in his favor, a very controversial decision of the chair umpire made him lose a point that gave two break options to the Australian.
A ball from De Minaur that went wide, Rafa stopped the point and marked the bounce. However, apparently, with the new rules and the technology of the hawk eye despite playing on clay, Nadal should have asked for the challenge. However, he did not and lost a point that could have cost him dearly.
Despite saving the two break points, Nadal ended up losing that game and de Minaur cleverly took advantage of it to win the next three games in a row, being now the one who had a break advantage.
Rafa responded quickly and the first set ended up going to a tie-break, with both players holding their serves safely. In the tie-break game, Nadal was superb and dominated de Miñaur as he wanted, until he was up 6-2. But the Australian is a very feisty player and was not going to give up.
He saved all four set points, although the Spaniard is no slouch in mental toughness either. Returning from the change of sides, Nadal left no room for doubt and won both points to take the first set 8-6 in the decisive tie-break.
The start of the second set was a carbon copy of the first, with the difference that this time there was no referee controversy. Nadal was able to maintain his advantage until the end. He was even close to get 5-2 and serve to win but de Minaur was not up to the task. Instead, at 5-3 and on the Australian's serve, Nadal brought out the beast within him and defeated him 6-3.
In the next round he will face Pedro Cachin, who was not going through his best moment until arriving in Madrid but has beaten good players like Sebastian Ofner and Frances Tiafoe, so it will be a tough nut to crack but more affordable than de Miñaur for Rafa.

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