The four-time Caja Magica champion Rafael Nadal will have to wait for the next year to chase the first Madrid Open crown since 2017. The home favorite suffered the quarter-final loss at his home Masters 1000 event last Friday, playing way below his best and experiencing a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Alexander Zverev.
The German had the upper had on the court, determined to beat Rafa for the third time in a row and the first on the slowest surface. In the press conference, Nadal stated that he made a good start and opened a 4-2 lead before playing a disastrous game that could have pushed him 5-2 up.
Staying calm, Alexander pulled the break back in that seventh game and fended off a break chance in the next one to level the score at 4-4. Rafa wasted a game point in the next one and suffered another break, losing ground completely and allowing Alexander to claim the set in game ten.
With nothing working his way, Nadal couldn't find a way to move his rival from the comfort zone in set number two, struggling to stay in touch with Zverev and losing serve at 2-2 to propel the opponent over the finish line and into the last four.
Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the Madrid quarter-final.
"It is always a balance between your poor tennis and the opponent's high level. But, yes, of course, it was more the second than the first.
I initially had the match under control, playing well in the opening six games and probably better than Alexander. Serving for 5-2, I produced a disaster and played another terrible service game from 30-0 at 4-4. It wasn't easy for me to remain confident after that, not in these conditions and against the rival from the top.
I did my best but couldn't control my serve. Well done to Alexander; he played his game, and his level didn't surprise me. He is ranked at the top, and you should expect this kind of tennis from him," Rafael Nadal said.