Carlos Alcaraz edges Rafael Nadal in The Netflix Slam

Carlos Alcaraz prevailed over Rafael Nadal in the match tie break

by Jovica Ilic
Carlos Alcaraz edges Rafael Nadal in The Netflix Slam
© David Becker / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz met at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas at The Netflix Slam. After an entertaining battle, Carlos prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 14-12 after two hours, beating his compatriot and lifting the trophy.

Rafa and Carlos played for the first time since Indian Wells 2022, and the result was in the shadow of the entertaining factor, even though they produced a serious level. Rafa played his first match since losing in the quarter-final in Brisbane in January, dealing with ongoing hip issues and missing the Australian Open and Doha.

On the other hand, Alcaraz injured his right ankle in Rio de Janeiro, retiring and recovering ahead of Indian Wells. Nadal showed no signs of physical issues, a positive sign ahead of his first Indian Wells match on Thursday.

Rafael Nadal, The Netflix Slam 2024© Candice Ward / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The veteran led 7-5 in the match tie break and stood two points from the finish line four times before settling with the runner-up prize.

Rafa served well in the opener and controlled the pace with an early break. Nadal closed the first game of the encounter with a service winner and created a break chance in game two after Alcaraz's loose forehand. The younger Spaniard hit a double fault and dropped serve, pushing his rival into an early lead.

Rafa cemented the lead with a hold in game three after deuce, hitting two beautiful winners and opening a 3-0 gap. Alcaraz got his name on the scoreboard with a service winner in game four before Nadal grabbed the next one on his serve for 4-1.

The young gun closed the sixth game with an unreturned serve, remaining within one break deficit. Rafa landed two forehand winners at deuce in the seventh game, bringing it home and moving 5-2 ahead. Alcaraz served to stay in the set in the eighth game and fired an ace to extend the battle.

The veteran served for the set at 5-3 and landed a service winner to close it in style and move in front. Carlos held at the beginning of the second set with a smash winner and pushed strong on the return in the next one. World no.

2 hit a forehand winner for three break points and seized the second for a 2-0 advantage. Alcaraz cemented it with an ace in the third game, settling into a fine rhythm.

Carlos Alcaraz & Rafael Nadal, The Netflix Slam 2024© Candice Ward / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal enjoyed a great night in Las Vegas.

Rafa trailed 30-0 in the fourth game before playing four good points and closing the game with a forehand winner.

Carlos grabbed the fifth game with a winner at the net and earned four break chances in the next one. Nadal erased them with brave hitting and terminated the game with a smash winner to remain within one break deficit. The veteran served to stay in the set in the eighth game and held after the rival's loose forehand.

Alcaraz served for the set at 5-3 and missed a volley at the net, offering Nadal three break chances. Rafa seized the second after Carlos' double fault, reducing the deficit to 5-4 and extending the set. Alcaraz stayed composed and earned a set point with a drop shot winner in game ten.

Rafael Nadal & Carlos Alcaraz, The Netflix Slam 2024© David Becker / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

He converted it with a forehand crosscourt winner, introducing the deciding match tie break. Nadal locked the result at 3-3 and moved 4-3 up when Alcaraz's forehand landed wide.

Carlos claimed two points on serve for 5-4 before missing a forehand and sending Rafa 7-5 ahead. Alcaraz bounced back and hit a backhand crosscourt winner for 7-7. The veteran played a loose forehand in the 15th point, falling 8-7 behind and facing two match points after Carlos' volley winner.

The young gun squandered the first with a wayward forehand, and the veteran denied the second with a cracking forehand down the line winner that brought him back to 9-9. Carlos painted a forehand down the line winner in the 19th point, earning his third match point.

Alcaraz netted a running forehand, bringing Nadal back to 10-10 and extending the drama. An ace moved the youngster 11-10 in front, and the more experienced player erased the fourth match point after the rival's loose forehand, locking the result at 11-11.

Nadal's forehand landed long, falling 12-11 behind and facing the fifth match point. He denied it after Alcaraz's wild forehand before playing against the sixth match point after Carlos' forehand winner.

Rafael Nadal, The Netflix Slam 2024© Candice Ward / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

World no.

2 finally seized this opportunity, with Nadal missing a forehand and propelling his compatriot over the top. Two rivals will now focus on Indian Wells, entering the first Masters 1000 event of the season from different perspectives.

Rafa will compete in the first round for the first time since 2004, trying to stay healthy and get some rhythm ahead of Monte Carlo. Alcaraz is the defending champion in the desert, winning his third Masters 1000 crown at 19 and hoping for another good run in the desert.

Rafa and Carlos battled in Indian Wells two years ago, with the more experienced player prevailing after over three hours.

Carlos Alcaraz Rafael Nadal