Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal felt "happy" after beating German Alexander Zverev at the Rome Masters on Friday. Nadal, ranked at No. 3 in the world, handed a 6-3 6-4 loss to Zverev to reach the Rome semifinal.
Nadal made a fast start to the match, having claimed back-to-back breaks to take an early 4-0 lead. Zverev got one break back in the fifth game but couldn't get back the second as Nadal served out for the opener in the ninth game.
Nadal then saved three consecutive break points in the fourth game, before claiming the lone break of the set a game later. Nadal also saved two more break points in the sixth game and three more break points in the 10th game.
“[I am] happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to,” Nadal said in his post-match interview, per the ATP website. “[It is] an important victory for me against a great player”.
Nadal not taking Reilly Opelka for granted
“[I will face] a big chance against a player who has almost an unreturnable serve. [Reilly] is playing well,” Nadal said. “I need to be very focussed with my serve and then try to be ready to accept [the situation] and be [engaged] on the return.
That is what I am looking for”. Nadal suffered a straight-set loss to Zverev last week at the Madrid Masters. "I think I played more solid than in Madrid. At the same time, conditions are different,” Nadal said.
“In Madrid, he was able to create a lot of damage with his serve and then with the first shot. Here, the situation is a little bit different. [These are] a little bit more normal conditions on the clay, so I was able to control a little bit more the game than in Madrid”.