" Rome Masters 2022: Nadal faces Isner in Rome | Sports – Ordimeds

Rome Masters 2022: Nadal faces Isner in Rome | Sports

Rafael Nadal has just completed the duel with the giant John Isner (2.08), but the victory (6-3 and 6-1, in 1h 16m) is not enough for him. In the direction of the net for the handshake with his rival, the Balearic looks at his bench and the instruction to Francis Roig, the coach who accompanies him these days at Foro Italico, is clear: “Ask for a clue. Hint…”. The Spaniard does not want to waste a single second, aware that his body and his game need more shooting, and that the stumbling block of the next season, the Canadian Denis Shapovalov, will need to climb a new step. .

He closed the game with a right hand, but at conduct She took a long time to wake up. For more than half an hour, the master stroke has not finished fueling; In reality, nothing that I did not consider beforehand, because a month and a half in the reserve is a long time, and the automatisms take time to return. After his reappearance last week at Madrid’s Caja Mágica – a rather tricky scenario, as the height makes it very difficult to control the ball – the 21-time champion is looking to Roma for the boost needed to get to Roland Garros brilliantly. .

“My body is like an old car, it needs time to restart,” he explained on his arrival in the Italian capital, after losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals. “I’m almost 36, I’m not 19 anymore, so it always takes time to recover. But I’m happy to be here, a place I love and where I have so many incredible memories,” said Manacor, who have 10 titles and 69 tournament wins, their second most prolific Masters 1000 after Monte Carlo. (11/73). He has triumphed in three of the last four editions and defends the throne.

Nadal is off to a good start, but the meeting with Isner (37, 27th at ATP) shows that there is still a lot of work ahead of him. The North American had two options to tie the game in his favor in the first set, but first he spat the ball down the hall and then he wore himself out trying to find a winner. Grace costs him dearly. In the process, the Spaniard, who didn’t quite release his arm and got stuck on the first serve, thanks another gift – a very clean volley that stays in the net – and goes on a 9- 1 partial to access the round of 16.

“I finished better than I started, there’s no doubt about it. The beginning was not good for me. He had options for the rest, they weren’t very difficult balls and he failed, but the thing was in his hands. Then I got lucky and was able to do the Pause. I did one again at the start of the second and everything changed”, reconstructs the world number four, who has only committed nine faults and completed an ode to regularity this week: there are already 800 installed among the top five on the circuit, a stratum he first reached 17 years ago.

“I’m not in the form of the start of the year because I haven’t touched a racquet for six weeks,” he recalled the day before. “It was not easy, but I try to give myself the chance to play well in Rome and of course to be ready for Roland Garros. Now, I only play for my happiness; a my age, I made what is probably the best start to the season of my career, so it would not be fair to complain”, explained Nadal, quoted by Shapovalov this Thursday and that in a hypothetical semi-final he could fall on the Serbian Novak Djokovic.

Muguruza Crisis

Last year, the Canadian player (23 years old, 16th in the world and left-handed) forced him to return to Rome, and even had two chances to complete the match. Nadal escaped, he too had to squeeze to make it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this season; on this occasion, Shapovalov managed to lead the pulse in the fifth set despite starting with two sets against, but the Spaniard reacted. That of Manacor survived and this victory marked a turning point, towards the already known destiny: the 21st great.

“I know how dangerous it is, so I have to play better than today. Now I have the opportunity to play against another great player and, I repeat, to do better than at the beginning of this match”, confides Nadal, accompanied by Paula Badosa (6-2 and 6-1 against Aliaksandra Sasnovich). “At this stage, more than my rivals, it’s me who has to improve and I’m going to work for that”, he adds in a day that says goodbye to Pablo Carreño (6-4, 2-6 and 6-1 against Karen Khachanov) and also that of Nuria Párrizas (6-3 and 7-6 (4) in favor of Bianca Andreescu) in the women’s draw.

Muguruza, during the match against Putintseva.FABIO FRUSTACI (EFE)

However, the biggest setback was Garbiñe Muguruza, knocked out by Yulia Putintseva with victory almost in her hands. The Spaniard, tenth in the world list, came within two points of victory (5-4 and 30-0 in the second set), but inexplicably slipped and said goodbye (3-6, 7-6(4 ) and 6-1 , after 2h 17m).

The former number one, 28, is going through a tricky time. A left shoulder condition kept her out of competition for a month and a half, and on her return she lost in the second round in Madrid. He failed to string together three victories in any of the seven tournaments he played this year: Sydney (fourth), Australia (2nd), Dubai (2nd), Doha (fourth), Indian Wells (1st), Madrid (2nd) and Roma (1st).



During his speech to reporters, Nadal was once again asked about the explosive take-off of Carlos Alcaraz, recent winner in Barcelona and Madrid. The comparison between the two is permanent but the Spaniard considers that such frequent parallels can be detrimental to the 19-year-old from Murcia. This is how he exposed it on Wednesday, revealing a certain weariness.

When asked who was the best at that age, he expanded. “I don’t know, because I don’t even know how I was. The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an incredible player like him. You better stop comparing him to me. If he is able to win 25 major tournaments, it will be incredible for him and for our country, and I will be happy for him. But let him enjoy his career,” he demanded.

“We can’t think all the time about what it was and what it is today. He is what he is. It’s fantastic. I myself won’t say I was beautiful, but I think I was pretty good too. That’s all. Different times, different races; different way of approaching things because times change. But let’s enjoy it. That’s all. don’t put extra pressure. Don’t ask me every time. Every time you ask me, I’ll say the same thing,” he continued.

And decided: “It’s super good for our sport. Honestly, selfishly, as a viewer, to have someone like him that you’re going to get to enjoy for years to come is great. But now I keep playing. I focus on trying to do the things I need to do. That’s all”.

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