Thursday’s session at the Foro Italico showed that Rafael Nadal is more current than ever. In a vibrant duel, for the round of 16 of the Masters 1000 in Rome, the 34-year-old Mallorcan defeated the canadian Denis Shapovalov. Raised two match points in the last set and took it in the tie-break after almost three and a half hours of play.
Signs of respect after the duel. Photo: REUTER.
The match started uphill for Nadal, who lost the first four games of the match to a Shapovalov who was very solid. He was able to react, but the advantage was already considerable for the Canadian, who took the first set by 6-3.
The second set started in a similar way to the first, defeat for Nadal seemed on track. Shapovalov managed to go bankrupt early and it was 3-0 and 40-0 in favor. However, it was here that the Rafa we are used to was seen. He raised, and took the second set, to start the rising defining.
The defining set was gripping, the canadian broke Nadal’s serve early, but the Spaniard was able to get it back in the next game. The development was even. To the end Nadal served 5-6 and raised two match points against, and then take the game and take things to the tie-break.
The tiebreaker was all for Rafa, which brought out all his experience to close it for a forceful 7-3. In this way sealed his passport to the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for the 16th time in 17 presentations. The thing about Rafa was huge.
As he follows Rafa’s path …
Nadal will face the winner of the duel between the Japanese Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev on Friday, who eliminated him last week at the Madrid Masters.