Rafael Nadal suffers a heavy Rome loss. Is this the end of the road?

Rafael Nadal grabbed only folur games versus Hubert Hurkacz at Foro Italico

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal suffers a heavy Rome loss. Is this the end of the road?
© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal will not chase his 11th Rome Masters title following a heavy 6-1, 6-3 loss to Hubert Hurkacz. Rafa endured a three-hour battle two days ago but did not have much left in the tank for a top-10 rival. Nadal made a promising start before losing ground and experiencing one of his heaviest losses on his beloved surface.

It could be Rafa's final match at Foro Italico, with his retirement looking more and more realistic after failing to improve his physical shape and reach a desired level that would make him competitive against the rivals from the top.

Hubert served at 54%, but it did not cost him much after denying all seven break points, five in the first game of the encounter.

Hubert Hurkacz, Rome 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Nadal landed in 72% of the first serve but drew nothing from that, dropping almost half of the points in his games and suffering four breaks.

The Pole tamed his strokes nicely, firing 23 winners and ten unforced errors while adding 22 service winners. Hubert outplayed Rafa from the baseline and welcomed 20 unforced errors from a 22-time Major winner, mainly from his forehand.

Rafa stayed in touch in the mid-range and most extended exchanges. However, he trailed massively in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, hitting only eight service winners and struggling to impose his strokes despite 19 winners.

The Spaniard could have moved in front in the first game of the encounter, creating five break chances.

Rafael Nadal & Hubert Hurkacz, Rome 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal fell to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets in Rome.

The Pole denied them and held with a service winner, avoiding an early setback and gathering a boost.

Nadal played against two break chances in the second game, denying them and leveling the score at 1-1 after a grueling 27 minutes! Hubert held at love in the third game and made a push on the return in the next one, creating a break chance and converting it after Rafa's poor drop shot attempt.

The veteran struggled behind the initial shot again in the sixth game, playing another uncontrolled drop shot and sending his opponent 5-1 in front. Hurkacz served for the set in game seven and faced two break points after Nadal's forehand down the line attack.

The Pole denied them and wrapped up the set after the Spaniard's forced error, moving 6-1 in front after 49 minutes.

Rafael Nadal, Rome 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Hubert barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the second set, keeping the pressure on a ten-time champion.

Nadal held after deuce in the first game before facing issues at 1-1. Rafa sprayed a backhand error and faced a break point, with Hubert converting it after a lucky net cord forehand down the line winner. The Pole cemented the lead with a hold at love in game four after a service winner, moving closer to the finish line.

They served well in the next four games, and Rafa served at 3-5 to prolong the battle. Instead, he sent a forehand long and lost serve, propelling Hubert over the top and most likely ending his Foro Italico journey.

Rafael Nadal Rome Masters Hubert Hurkacz