Time passes for everyone. Even for Rafael Nadal. After the misstep in Monte-Carlo and the very complicated victory in Barcelona, spiced up with match points against him, the very Spanish champion bows to Alexander Zverev in the Caja Magica in Madrid.
"Sascha" has more: this is the summary. The German seals the win at 6-4 6-4 on the threshold of two hours of play and appears for the second time in his career among the top four of the '1000' in Madrid. Waiting for him for the remake of the most recent final of the US Open obviously Dominic Thiem, executioner of John Isner.
“Sascha” plays a game of quantity and quality. He serves well, moves the game well with the forehand, but above all he manages not to get trapped in the network of prolonged exchanges. Rather. After a rather prolonged study phase, the first to break away in the score is however Nadal.
You want by experience, you want by characteristics. Called to keep a 4-2 lead, the Spanish champion initially jams with the forehand near the net and attacks roughly with the same shot from 30-30. The result? Zverev passes in both cases and gets back on track.
The German survives a controversial episode in the immediately following game - a very late call from Nadal on the second ball - and after 30-30 he finds himself at 30-40. "Sascha" clears the problems with the service and even puts his head ahead with the second consecutive break.
Despite a double fault at the start, the 6-4 proves to be a necessary epilogue. With the second set, Nadal's problems are amplified. Bad with the service, bad in lateral movements, badly especially from the baseline. Zverev flirts with the break in the third game and hooks him in the fifth.
After a rather comfortable turn at bat, he even approaches the double advantage. Nadal somehow recovers from an almost desperate situation of 15-40 and stays in the slipstream. Even if in the last two rounds of response, he does not get any real chances to recover the gap.
Rafael Nadal congratulated Zverev
“I feel like I’ve been taking steps forward, but when you go up a ladder, you can take a step back and I think that’s the way it has been today. Things started the same as in the previous games but, at the moment of truth in the moments in which I had to define the set, I did everything wrong making several mistakes,” said Rafael Nadal in the interview.
After the match, Rafa congratulated Zverev to put up a phenomenal show at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021. He also opened up about the areas where he actually faced some trouble against Zverev. “Playing against someone like Zverev, who puts you in trouble by taking out at 220km/ h, I have to hit the ball six meters from the line, even so, I hit him high over the shoulder and that is why I only need to give the maximum level.
Zverev is a good player and I congratulate him on the victory… I have been inferior,” added the 20-time Grand Slam winner.