Rafael Nadal opened his participation in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2022 with a great victory against John Isner, whom he defeated 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the round of 16 in the fifth ATP Masters 1000 of the season.
Next, the World No. 4 will meet the dangerous Denis Shapovalov, who in the same round in 2021 had two match points to eliminate the Mallorcan, and let the opportunity slip away. With a convincing 7-1 in the ATP Head2Head, Nadal came out to play with Isner with confidence on his side, and that translated to the center court of the Foro Italico, packed to see the debut in the tournament of the 10-time champion (2005 , 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019 and 2021).
With Isner taking advantage of his powerful serve to take turns of service ahead without problems, thus putting pressure on the return of his rival, Nadal needed to make every effort to put the ball in play, redoubling his concentration to avoid getting into trouble.
Thus, after half an hour, the Spanish saved the first two break points of the match (at 3-3). Surviving that situation was a boost that allowed him to win the first round, and tame his opponent. Immediately after bordering the abyss (4-3), Nadal broke Isner's serve (5-3) and accelerated until he won the first set, overcoming the bad drink and controlling the duel, as was demonstrated at the start of the second partial.
Rafa Nadal defeated Isner
Rafael Nadal overcame John Isner in his opening match at the 2022 Italian Open on Wednesday as the Spaniard began his campaign for a 11th title in the Italian capital. "Last year was a joke, the match that I saved here against him here.
Super lucky, I know how dangerous he is, I need to play better than today, but, you know, after a while without being on court, it's another victory, and now tomorrow again is a chance again to play against one of the best players in the world, another good test, let's see, I need to build again after a tough stop and that's what I'm trying to stay with the right attitude and let's see if I'm able to make that happen."
The 21-time Grand Slam champion beat Isner in straight sets and dropped just four games in the entirety of the match. "Well, I finished better without a doubt than I started without a doubt. The beginning of the match it wasn't good for me.
I was on his hands in that moment, lucky that he missed that couple of shots then I was able to have the break and then the match changed. With the first set in the pocket and having the break in the first game of the second, everything changed."