Rafael Nadal: 'An important victory against a good rival'

Tennis - Nadal defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in the Madrid Masters second round

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal: 'An important victory against a good rival'

Playing his first match in six weeks, Rafael Nadal defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 7-6 in the Madrid Masters second round. Rafa needed an hour and 55 minutes to secure the 21st victory from 22 matches in 2022, playing well in the opener and prevailing in the second to advance.

Rafa was aggressive and determined to keep the points on his racquet despite a shaky backhand that almost cost him the second set. He hit 29 winners and 23 unforced errors and stayed composed in the second set's closing stages to emerge at the top.

An in-form Kecmanovic broke a 21-time Major winner twice in the second set and stayed competitive until the tie break. He could not force a decider and extend his streak of quarter-finals at the Tour events. Rafa drew first blood in the encounter's fourth game with a smash winner and fired an unreturned serve in the next one for 4-1.

Pushing strong, Nadal broke again in game six with a forehand crosscourt winner and held at love with an unreturned serve for 6-1 in 36 minutes. Miomir raised his level after a rain delay and followed Rafa's pace in set number two.

Rafa grabbed a break at 15 in game five before Miomir pulled it back a few minutes later for 3-3.

Rafael Nadal is through into the third round at the Madrid Masters.

Kecmanovic saved a break point with a forehand winner in game seven and brought it home after deuces to move in front.

Rafa landed two aces in game ten to extend the set and painted a forehand crosscourt winner in the next one to create break chances. He grabbed the first after Miomir's backhand error to move 6-5 in front and serve for the victory.

Nadal's backhand became shaky in the closing stages, and he experienced a break in the worst possible moment to keep the rival in contention. Rafa hit a smash winner at 5-4 in the tie break for two match points and landed an ace on the first to emerge at the top.

"Every comeback is different. We have to put all circumstances together while analyzing a comeback. Today's match was very important for me, as I competed at home on clay against a rival who has been playing well for the past couple of months.

If you put everything together, it was a tough first match. I managed it very well, playing at a high level and feeling pleased about the victory. I'm aware that things will not be perfect in Madrid, and I'm moving forward with the right determination, accepting that I need to fight and stay positive.

I need to play with the right attitude and take every match that I can win like a present that allows me to play again," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Miomir Kecmanovic Madrid Masters