2022 in Review: Rafael Nadal sails past John Isner

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2022 in Review: Rafael Nadal sails past John Isner

The defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the third round at the Rome Masters. Rafa beat John Isner 6-3, 6-1 for his 69th Foro Italico victory and a winning start following the quarter-final Madrid loss. Nadal scored his eighth victory over Isner in nine encounters, playing well on serve and return to sail through in an hour and 16 minutes.

The Spaniard claimed 20 points more than his rival and defended both break chances to keep the pressure on the other side. Isner was far from those numbers. He served at only 55% (like Rafa) and dropped half of the points behind the initial shot.

Rafa broke him four times from six opportunities to control the scoreboard and move on. Nadal hit 11 winners and nine unforced mistakes, and Isner counted 20 unforced errors to plague his chances.

Rafael Nadal defeated John Isner in Rome.

Rafa had the advantage in service winners and had the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced exchanges to bring the victory home in no time.

Isner grabbed the second game with a drop shot winner, and Nadal moved 2-1 up with a service winner in the next one. John locked the result at 2-2 before Rafa grabbed the next one with a smash winner at the net. Isner produced his finest hold in game six and landed a service winner to remain on the positive side.

Suddenly, Nadal faced two break points in game seven and denied them after the rival's errors. John sprayed a forehand mistake in the eighth game and offered Rafa two break points. The American played a terrible volley at the net on the second to push the Spaniard 5-3 in front.

Nadal served for the set in game nine and earned three set points with a service winner. Rafa seized the first for 6-3 after 43 minutes, gathering a boost ahead of set number two. Isner netted a forehand after an extended rally at the start of the second set to lose serve and fall further behind.

Nadal held at 15 in game two to confirm the lead and move closer to the finish line. Rafa grabbed the fourth game at 15 for 3-1 and created another break point in the next one after John's wayward forehand. The American netted a routine forehand to lose serve and find himself 4-1 behind.

The sixth game reached deuce before Nadal closed it with a volley winner at the net for 5-1. Isner hit a double fault in game seven to face match points. Nadal clinched the second with a forehand down the line winner to seal the deal and move into the third round.

Rafael Nadal John Isner