Rafael Nadal destroys Darwin Blanch in Madrid

Rafael Nadal secured his fourth victory of the season in Caja Magica

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal destroys Darwin Blanch in Madrid
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal can still score victories at the home Masters 1000 event in Madrid, 21 years after his debut! The veteran kicked off his 20th Madrid Masters campaign with a rock-solid 6-1, 6-0 triumph over the 16-year-old Darwin Blanch in 64 minutes.

Rafa notched his 57th victory in Madrid and first at a Masters 1000 level since Paris 2022 after struggling with injuries. Nadal did not feel well ahead of Madrid. However, there was nothing wrong with his game against the young gun, dropping nine points behind the initial shot and never facing a break point.

Blanch could not follow that pace, losing 60% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering five breaks from nine chances offered to his rival.

Rafael Nadal & Darwin Blanch, Madrid 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The home favorite had the upper hand in the shortest, mid-range and most extended exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and scoring only his fifth victory since the beginning of 2023.

Nadal held at love in the first game of the encounter after Blanch's backhand error and made a push on the return in the next one. Darwin squandered a 30-0 lead and netted a routine forehand to drop serve and find himself 2-0 behind.

The young gun denied Nadal's two game points in the third game before the Spaniard held with a service winner for 3-0 after 12 minutes. A left-handed American played a flawless service game, holding at love in game four and adding his name to the scoreboard.

Rafael Nadal, Madrid 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal took down the 16-year-old Dariwn Blanch in straight sets in Madrid.

Rafa grabbed the fifth game with a forced error and created two break points in the next one after Darwin's wayward forehand.

The young gun sprayed a massive forehand error on the second, losing serve and sending the veteran 5-1 in front. Nadal served for the opener in game seven and created three set points with a service winner. Rafa converted the first, holding at love and wrapping up the opening set after 28 minutes.

The 16-year-old placed a forehand long at the beginning of the second set and offered Nadal two break points. Darwin denied them before Rafa seized the third after a deep return and the rival's mistake. Rafa cemented the lead with an ace in game two and created another break opportunity in the next one.

Rafael Nadal, Madrid 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Darwin denied it with a powerful serve and generated a game point after an extended rally and a forehand winner. Nadal denied it with a forehand winner and clinched a break after crafty volleys at the net, forging a 3-0 advantage.

The Spaniard closed the fourth game after the American's forehand error and drew the rival's mistake in the next one for two break points. Rafa seized the first, securing another break and serving for the win at 5-0. The home favorite delivered a bagel with a service winner after deuce in game six, celebrating his first Madrid victory in two years and making a winning start.

Rafael Nadal