Rafael Nadal Earns Revenge Over Young Star In Stunning Madrid Win

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. His 2023 season ended in January after he fought through a hip injury to an ultimate defeat against Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open Second Round.

The 37-year-old tennis great then spent the rest of 2023 treating and recovering from the injury.  He returned to the court in Brisbane International in January 2024 but began showing glimpses of the Nadal of old in Barcelona where he outclassed Flavio Cobolli.

Rafael Nadal’s Clay Return Ended In Defeat 

Rafael Nadal
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 18: Rafael Nadal of Spain receives attention during a medical time out in their round two singles match against Mackenzie McDonald of the United States during day three of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

His first return to the surface where he enjoyed the majority of his success all through his career, came in Barcelona. In the Round of 64 game against Flavio Cobolli, Rafael Nadal enjoyed a straight-set 6-2, 6-3 win.

The next day, he was knocked out in front of an emotional crowd by Alex De Minaur in straight sets. This defeat happened in the Pista Rafa Nadal, the center court of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona – 1899 which was named after him.

This defeat marked the end of Rafael Nadal’s journey in the Barcelona Open, a tournament he entered for the first time in 2003. He then won it five consecutive times between 2005 and 2009, and three consecutive times twice between 2011 and 2013, and 2016 and 2018. He returned in 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic to win it again.

Rafael Nadal Sends Madrid Crazy

Rafael Nadal
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 18: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts in their round two singles match against Mackenzie McDonald of the United States during day three of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Continuing the 2024 clay season, Rafael Nadal started the Madrid Open against the 16-year-old Darwin Blanch. The match was a complete overrun as Nadal secured a straight-sets win against the teenager in just 63 minutes. This set up a mouthwatering revenge clash with number 11 ranked Alex De Minaur just 10 days after the Barcelona Open defeat.

Although the first set ended in a closely fought tie-break, the entire match was dominated by Nadal. He had 67 points overall to De Minaur’s 62, won 13 games to De Minaur’s nine, a 73% first serve percentage better than De Minaur’s 66%, four break points to De Minaur’s two, and one fewer double fault. Ranked at 512, Nadal’s win allows him to take on Pedro Cachín in the Round of 32.

Will Nadal’s Clay Court Career End With One More Trophy?

Rafael Nadal
PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 05: Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the trophy after winning against Casper Ruud of Norway during the Men’s Singles Final match on Day 15 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros on June 05, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

No other tennis player has enjoyed a lopsided kind of dominance on a single-court surface like Rafael Nadal has enjoyed on a clay court.

In his career, he has won the French Open, Barcelona Open, Monte-Carlo Masters, and Rome Masters titles 14, 12, 11, and 10 times respectively. He’s still unbeaten in every French and Barcelona Open final he’s played in.

His 81 consecutive victories on clay court from April 2005 to May 2007 is the longest single-surface winning streak in the history of the Open Era. With 14 French Open titles, he has more titles in a single major tournament than Margaret Court’s and Novak Djokovic’s 11 and nine respective Australian Open titles.

With the Madrid Open still up for grabs and the ultimate French Open lingering over the horizon, fans are left wondering if the tennis legend will bow out with one final clay court masterclass.

Also Read: Tennis Styles from Sampras to Alcaraz

About the Author

Ebenezer has been an avid soccer fan for over two decades, being a fan of both Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC since 2006 and 2010 respectively. He has also been a writer within that same period and as a result, has grown a love for books, TV, and movies also.

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