Rafael Nadal avenges Madrid Open loss as he claims ‘important win’ against Alexander Zverev in Rome

ATP Tour
Rafael Nadal sliding on the clay

Rafael Nadal cut out the errors and produced a solid performance to beat Madrid Open champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets at the Italian Open.

A week ago Nadal exited the Madrid event in the semi-final after suffering defeat at the hands fo Zverev, but seven days later he was the man who dished out the loss as he beat Zverev 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-final in Rome.

After struggling against Denis Shapovalov in round three on Thursday, Nadal had no such problems against the German as he was always ahead after racing into a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve.

Although Zverev managed to get one break back, the 20-time Grand Slam served it out while a single break in game five of the second set eased him over the finish line.

“[I am] happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to,” he said. “[It is] an important victory for me against a great player.”

He added: “I think I played more solid than in Madrid. At the same time, conditions are different. 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.”

The Spaniard will face Reilly Opelka for a place in the final after the American reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) win over Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.

“[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.”

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