The Spanish Rafael Nadal, second world player, started positively in his group of the Masters at the end of the season, this Sunday in London, when he achieved a victory in two sets, 6-3 and 6-4, against the Russian Andrey Rublev (8th).
Nadal thus commands the ‘London Group 2020’ together with Austrian Dominic Thiem (3rd), who won the other match on the first day, in his case by 7-6 (7/5), 4-6 and 6-3 the defending champion, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (6th).
Behind closed doors at the O2 Arena in the British capital due to the covid-19 pandemic, Nadal showed from the outset that he arrives determined to lift a trophy that he has never achieved, in a competition where he lost in the past the only two finals he played ( 2010, 2013).
The Spanish star, who won his twentieth Grand Slam title at Roland Garros last month, conveyed good feelings against Rublev, a 23-year-old debutant at the Masters but who has shone in 2020 with five titles.
Two of the tournaments won by the Russian this season were last month, in St. Petersburg and Vienna, on a fast surface and indoors, in conditions similar to those in the Masters and that are not Nadal’s favorites, who nevertheless it was solid.
The Spaniard won every game with his serve in the match, often with authority.
Nadal made a ‘break’ in each set, which helped him win the match.
In the first set he got it in the sixth game, to go 4-2 and gain an advantage that allowed him to later score the set 6-3.
Rublev started serving in the second set and lost on serve.
Nadal then got 2-0 up and from there each one was winning the games with their serve, until the final 6-4 with which the Mallorcan signed his debut with victory in this ‘Masters Tournament’, the last one that takes place in London before the competition moves to Turin, Italy in 2021.
Rublev still hasn’t beaten Nadal. In their only previous duel, the Spaniard had beaten him in three strong sets in the quarterfinals of the 2017 US Open.
– Results for Sunday in the 1st day of the group stage of the Masters:
– Group ‘London 2020’:
Rafael Nadal (ESP / N.2) defeated Andrey Rublev (RUS / N.7) 6-3, 6-4
Dominic Thiem (AUT / N.3) to Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE / N.6) 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-3
Classification: PG PP SG SP
1. Nadal 1 0 2 0
2. Thiem 1 0 2 1
3. Tsitsipas 0 1 1 2
4. Rublev 0 1 0 2
NOTE: the first two classified in each group go to the semifinals. The other group, ‘Tokyo 1970’, starts on Monday with the Novak Djokovic-Diego Schwartzman and Alexander Zverev-Daniil Medvedev matches.
bur / dr / mcd