Rafael Nadal: 'I should have finished earlier'

Rafael Nadal saved match points against David Goffin at the Madrid Masters

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal: 'I should have finished earlier'

Rafael Nadal delivered one of his toughest victories of the season at the Madrid Masters. Rafa had to work hard against David Goffin in the third round, scoring a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 triumph in three hours and nine minutes. Nadal advanced to his 16th quarter-final at the home Masters 1000 event after fending off four match points.

He refused to surrender and produced another incredible performance in front of the home fans. Nadal should have finished the job much earlier and without the drama, as he served for the victory in the second set. The Spaniard led 5-3 before the Belgian bounced back and claimed four straight games after fending off two match points in different games!

It was Nadal's turn to face match points in the deciding tie break, saving four of them and prevailing 11-9 to set the Carlos Alcaraz clash. Rafa netted a forehand in the encounter's fifth game to find himself 3-2 down. He pulled the break back in the next one after David's two double faults.

Nadal grabbed another break in game eight to open a 5-3 gap and fired a forehand winner on his serve a few minutes later to wrap up the opener. Rafa broke David at love in the second set's third game and moved closer to the finish line.

Goffin fended off a match point on serve in game nine and made a crucial hold that kept him alive. Nadal squandered the second match point on his serve at 5-4 and got broken in the worst moment. David hammered a forehand winner in game 12 to seize the second set point, steal the set 7-5 and introduce a decider.

Rafael Nadal prevailed over David Goffin in Caja Magica.

The Belgian saved two break points in the third set's opening game and gained an additional boost. Nadal started all over and served well to keep the pressure on the other side.

Rafa held at love in game eight to lock the result at 4-4, and they both players served well in the remaining games to introduce a deciding tie break. The Belgian sprayed a forehand error in the fourth point and played a loose drop shot in the next one to find himself 4-1 down.

David bounced back and painted a forehand winner for 4-4. Goffin fired another forehand winner to open a 5-4 gap and hit a smash winner for two match points! Rafa saved the first with a service winner and defended the second after David's loose forehand for 6-6 after three hours!

Goffin earned the third match point, and Nadal denied it with a drop shot winner. Rafa placed a forehand crosscourt winner for the third match point, and David erased it with a smash winner for 8-8. Another smash winner created the fourth match point for Goffin, and Nadal saved it with a crafty drop shot winner.

The home favorite forced the rival's error for the fourth match point and sealed the deal after David's forehand mistake to celebrate a massive victory. "It was an unforgettable night. For me today, in some ways, it has been an inspiration in the way I have been fighting all my tennis career.

Honestly, it was a very tough match. I think I played at a very high level. But at the same time, I'm not completely happy because I had to finish the match in straight sets, without a doubt. Three hours and ten minutes on the court helps increase my physical performance.

A significant victory, saving match points. That's the confidence that gives me a chance to keep going. I need matches and a day like today to be fitter sooner," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal David Goffin Madrid Masters