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Apr 25, 2024 5:36 pm

Rafael Nadal posts easy win in first round in Madrid

rafael nadal

Five-time champion Rafael Nadal started his tournament strong as he sailed to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over 16-year-old wild card Darwin Blanch on Thursday in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain.

Nadal won 79.2 percent of his first-serve points on the clay while sailing to a 64-minute victory over the American.

Nadal has been dealing with injuries and is playing in just his second tournament since January. He stated earlier this week that he wasn’t in top shape, but he was never threatened by the youngster who made 27 unforced errors while playing in his second ATP match.

“I think today I played against someone with a great future in front of him,” Nadal said. “But today he was making mistakes. I tried to be there and be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks. I’m happy to be through, and I wish him all the very best.”

Nadal never faced a break point in the match. The Spaniard will face Alex de Minaur of Australia in the second round.

Ironically, the 37-year-old Nadal lost to de Minaur in the second round in Barcelona last week.

“I hope I can give my best and be competitive against de Minaur,” Nadal said. “Every time I have the chance to be on court in this amazing stadium with an unconditional supportive crowd, it means a lot to me. Just trying to enjoy every moment. Tomorrow, one more day of practice here and then after tomorrow, on court again. That makes me feel great.”

Thursday’s victory also raised Nadal’s record win count in Madrid to 57.

Among other first-round matches, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada rallied to knock off Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Auger-Aliassime had edges of 11-2 in aces and 32-15 in winners.

Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena scored the final six points of a third-set tiebreaker to record a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.

Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego had a 9-0 edge in aces during a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Sonego had 29 winners to Gasquet’s 13.

Other first-round winners include Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, Tomas Machac and Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, Miomir Kecmanovic and Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia, Max Purcell of Australia, Pedro Cachin of Argentina, Matteo Arnaldi and Flavio Cobolli of Italy, Joao Fonseca and Thiago Monteiro of Brazil and Pavel Kotov of Russia.

–Field Level Media

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