ATP Madrid Open 2022: A change in dynamic of Spanish tennis may be imminent as Alcaraz takes on Nadal

Although Nadal has been victorious so far in every single match he has played against Alcaraz, the 18-year-old is on one hell of a serious hot streak

Carlos Alcaraz (R) and Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/US Open)

A symbolic passing of the baton in sport might be imminent in the 2022 Madrid Open. As the tournament moves on to its to its quarter-final stage, Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal is all set to face a bright upstart and his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Although Nadal has been victorious so far in every single match he has played against Alcaraz, the 18-year-old is on one hell of a serious hot streak at the moment. He has already won a couple of ATP competitions this season, the Miami Open and the Barcelona Open. Nadal, on the other hand, is returning to the sport after taking some time off due to a rib injury he sustained at the 2022 Indian Wells. So, if there ever was a time to beat his idol and take the baton of Spain’s next tennis superstar, Alcaraz will get his best opportunity yet in the Spanish capital on Friday.

Comeback win for Rafa

Rafael Nadal showed his famed fighting spirit once again on Thursday against David Goffin at the 2022 Madrid Open, coming back from the edge of both victory and loss. After saving two match points in the second set, Rafael Nadal saved four in a dramatic tie-break to win by the narrowest of margins, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(9), in three hours and nine minutes. “Honestly, it was a very tough match. I think I played at a very high level. But at the same time I am not completely happy because I have to finish the match in straight sets, without a doubt,” Nadal said after the match.

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Fitting gift for Alcaraz on his 19th

Carlos Alcaraz won his round of 16 match in the Madrid Open on Thursday, defeating Cameron Norrie of the United Kingdom. But the Spaniard kept the party going with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 triumph in front of his home fans at Manolo Santana Stadium on his 19th birthday. Norrie, the ninth seed, fought him hard throughout, breaking service once in each of the first two sets and creating four break chances in the third, but he could never get ahead in the match score. Following the triumph, Alcaraz was serenaded on centre court by the Spanish audience and given a special presentation that included a birthday cake and sparklers. His favourite present, however, must be the one he earned – the meeting with Nadal on Friday.

On facing Nadal

“Honestly, I don’t know. I always say that he has 1,000 lives. He dies and he survives, in every tough match for him,” Alcaraz said of his idol and imminent opponent. “I think if I play a pretty good game, I’ll have chances to win.” Nadal, on the other hand believes that Alcaraz is in better shape and gave him the edge ahead of their quarter-final tie. Obviously, there does exist a lot of mutual respect between the two but that all will fly out of the window when they meet on court.

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‘He is better than me’

“I think that today, he is better than me and he has a good dynamic, a good momentum,” Nadal said. “I think I am a very realistic person, and that doesn’t take me to not believe that I can win or that I can do it, but today I think that Alcaraz is in a better physical state of mind, is more fit. I came here without playing. He’s younger, so he has that extra energy.”

Sportslumo Desk

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