Rafael Nadal pulled off one of his best performances of the season to beat Alexander Zverev and enter the semifinals of the BNL Internationals of Italy. The Spanish champion won thanks to a score of 6-3 6-4 in two hours of play, taking revenge after the German had eliminated him in Madrid last week.
The former world number 1 adopted a clever strategy, saving nine of the ten break points his opponent had at his disposal. For the 34-year-old Majorcan this is an important victory, which removes the clouds on his performance that have thickened in recent weeks.
The Iberian will once again be the man to beat at Roland Garros, where he will hunt for his 14th career seal. A possible success in the French capital would also allow him to reach 21 Grand Slams, beating his eternal rival Roger Federer in the all-time ranking for the first time.
Great fear for a ruinous fall of Rafa in the second set, fortunately without consequences. Speaking to reporters after the match, the 13-time Paris champion wanted to reassure his fans.
Rafael Nadal faced a whopping 10 break points on Friday
"I'm one of those who think that when you fight, you usually end up getting something in return," Rafael Nadal said.
"That's what I did. Yesterday I fought a lot, I suffered a lot, but I could find a way to win the match. That gave me the opportunity to be on the court today. I played much better today than yesterday. I did a lot of things well, I played more solidly and I think it was one of the most solid matches I have played on clay this year."
During his presser, the 20-time Major champion assured everyone that his fall hadn't caused any serious physical issues whatsoever, even though it did hurt initially. "Several parts of my body hurt, because I have injuries in different places," Nadal said.
"It was in a race, my foot got stuck on the line. I hit my wrist, I got scared a little, but after a few seconds I realized it was nothing. He is a very difficult opponent to play," said the Spaniard. "He has a great service.
I will need to be very focused with my serve and try to have some opportunities for the rest. We will see." The 2020 French Open was played during September and October amid heavy and humid conditions. "The conditions at Roland Garros last year were probably the toughest for me, for my style of play, but hey, it wasn't bad at all," Nadal said.
"I played very well and I don't think I lost a set. Sometimes things happen that way, but if you ask me what I prefer, I choose to play under normal circumstances without a doubt."