World No. 2 Rafael Nadal was happy with his Rome Masters round-of-16 performance against world No. 25 Dusan Lajovic. Nadal, seeded at No. 2, demolished the Serbian tennis star 6-1 6-3 to easily progress into the Rome Masters quarterfinal.
Nadal, who skipped the Cincinnati Masters and US Open over coronavirus concerns, kicked off his season restart in Rome this week. After a comfortable 6-1 6-1 win over Pablo Carreno Busta in his first match since February, Nadal played another outstanding match against Lajovic.
Nadal broke Lajovic in the second game to take a 2-0 first set lead but Lajovic broke back the Spaniard in the following game to reduce the deficit to 2-1. Lajovic blew two consecutive game points in the fourth game, before Nadal realized his sixth break point of the game to take a 3-1 lead.
Lajovic never recovered from losing the fourth game of the first set as Nadal went on an eight-game winning series to open a 6-1 4-0 lead. But Lajovic refused to quit as he won his two service games and broke Nadal to reduce the deficit to 4-3.
Howeber, that was all from Lajovic as Nadal won the following two games to earn a straight-set win. "I played at I think a very positive level of tennis. Of course it needs to keep improving. I need to keep working on a couple of things that are not coming automatically.
But I can't ask for more," Nadal said, per the ATP website. "[It was] another great evening for me against another good opponent. Can't complain at all. Much better [than] what I expected." "The first set it was 6-1, but a super tough beginning of the match.
A lot of good points," Nadal said. "[I'm] very happy, it's an important victory for me after such a long time. To start the tournament with these two victories is great news."
Nadal didn't take Lajovic for granted
"I know Dusan can play great shots.
He's a player with a lot of spin, a lot of power in the hand," Nadal insisted. "I needed the consistency. I needed to let him play from the back, not from comfortable positions." Nadal plays next against world No.
15, against whom he has a 9-0 head-to-head record. "[It] always has been very tough and tricky matches against him," Nadal said. "I know I have to play very well if I want to have chances and that's what I'm going to try [to do]."