Hubert Hurkacz's Double Delight: Toppling Nadal on Clay, Federer on Grass

Hubert Hurkacz is the fifth player with a win over Rafael Nadal on clay and Roger Federer on grass

by Jovica Ilic
Hubert Hurkacz's Double Delight: Toppling Nadal on Clay, Federer on Grass
© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Hubert Hurkacz achieved a notable milestone at the Rome Masters. Hubert took down a ten-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-3 in what could be the last Foro Italico match for the king of clay. Thus, Hurkacz became the fifth player with a clay-court win over Rafael Nadal and a grass-court triumph over Roger Federer.

The Pole joined Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev on the exclusive list. Hurkacz ousted Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-final three years ago, and it proved to be the last singles match in the Swiss' incredible career.

Roger stopped the clock and became the oldest Wimbledon quarter-finalist in the Open era, beating four rivals despite knee issues. However, he could not do much against Hubert, who ousted him 6-3, 7-6, 6-0 in an hour and 48 minutes, delivering Roger's worst Wimbledon loss since 2002 and reaching his first Major semi-final!

Hubert Hurkacz & Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2021© Pool / Pool - Getty Images Sport

The veteran missed his chances in the second set, falling in the tie break and fading from the court in the third set, suffering his first bagel since the 2008 Roland Garros final!

Roger grabbed one break in the second set and got broken five times from 15 chances offered to his opponent, three in the third. Hubert landed 36 winners and 12 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and leaving an eight-time champion behind.

The Pole held after deuce in the first game of the encounter and served well in the rest of the set, keeping the pressure on the Swiss. Roger denied three break points in the fourth game and held with service winners, remaining on the positive side.

Hubert held at love in game five and delivered a break in the next one with a volley winner at the net, forging a 4-2 advantage and gaining a boost against his idol. Hurkacz served for the opener at 5-3 and landed an unreturned serve, securing the first part of the duel after 28 minutes.

Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2021© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Hubert Hurkacz scored notable wins over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Federer made a fresh start in the second set, delivering his only break in the second game after Hurkacz's double fault.

The Swiss saved three break points in the third game, holding and opening a 3-0 advantage. Hubert held after deuce in game four and landed an ace in the sixth, remaining within one break deficit. The Pole pulled the break back in game seven after the Swiss' backhand error before holding for 4-4.

They served well in the remaining games and introduced a tie break. Hurkacz clinched it 7-4 with a booming serve, opening a massive two sets to love advantage and moving closer to the finish line. Roger had nothing more left in the tank, suffering an early break in the second game of the third set and never recovering.

Federer sprayed forehand errors in games two and four, falling 4-0 behind and serving to stay in the match at 0-5. The Swiss sprayed another forehand mistake in the sixth game, suffering a bagel and ending his Wimbledon campaign.

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

After terminating Federer's Wimbledon journey, Hurkacz most likely did the same with Nadal in Rome. The Pole ousted the king of clay in straight sets, completing a feat of wins against two legends on their beloved surfaces.

Nadal survived a marathon against Zizou Bergs but could not repeat that against Hurkacz, suffering a heavy 6-1, 6-3 loss and likely playing his last Foro Italico match. The Pole served at 54% and drew the most from that. Hubert denied all seven break points, five in the opening game of the encounter that lasted almost half an hour!

Nadal felt the pressure and could not endure it. The veteran served at 72% but dropped nearly half of the points in his games, suffering four breaks and experiencing an early loss. Hubert controlled the pace with 23 winners and 22 service winners, adding only ten unforced errors.

Rafa sprayed too many mistakes from his forehand, struggling in the shortest exchanges and failing to take at least a set.

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

Nadal made a promising start, creating five break points in the opening game of the encounter and seeking an early advantage.

Instead, Hurkacz denied them and held with an unreturned serve after a grueling 27 minutes. The Pole held at love in game three for 2-1 and grabbed a break in the next one after the Spaniard's loose drop shot. Hubert held for 4-1 and made another push on the return in game six.

Hurkacz grabbed another break after Nadal's wayward drop shot, extending the gap and serving for the opener at 5-1. Rafa attacked with his forehand in the seventh game and created two break points. Hubert saved them and closed the set after 49 minutes.

The Pole produced rock-solid serving in the second set, and the Spaniard stood far behind that pace. Hurkacz moved in front with a break in game three and held at love in the next one with a service winner for 3-1. They produced four fine holds before Rafa served to stay in the match at 3-5. A ten-time champion sprayed a forehand error, ending his campaign and likely playing his last Rome Masters encounter.

Hubert Hurkacz Rafael Nadal Roger Federer