Rafael Nadal failed to claim the fifth Caja Magica title in Madrid last week. The Spaniard returned to action after skipping six weeks due to a rib injury and played three matches at the home Masters 1000 event. It was enough for Rafa to pass Roger Federer and earn the Masters 1000 record. Nadal became the first player with 490 Masters 1000 matches, leaving his great rival on 489 and looking good to enter the exclusive ‘Club 500’ this summer. Rafa made a winning start in Madrid with a 6-1, 7-6 triumph over an in-form Serb Miomir Kecmanovic. Nadal played on a high level in the opener before his backhand let him down a bit in set number two. The Spaniard served for the victory at 6-5 in the second set before the Serb broke back to prolong the action. The home favorite claimed the tie break 7-4 to seal the deal and make a winning start. Nadal faced David Goffin in the third round, seeking the fifth victory against the Belgian from seven meetings.
Rafael Nadal is the player with most Masters 1000 matches.
Rafa built a 6-3, 5-3 lead before David bounced back to make it an epic encounter that lasted three hours and ten minutes! Goffin survived two match points in back-to-back games in the second set’s closing stages and rattled off four straight games to steal it and force a decider. The Belgian survived an early scare in the final set’s opening game and followed Nadal’s pace in the remaining ones to reach a tie break. It became a roller coaster, and Rafa saved four match points with brave hitting. Goffin squandered his chances, and Nadal closed the breaker 11-9 for one of his most thrilling wins at Caja Magica. It was his 489th Masters 1000 match in a career, matching Roger Federer and passing him the following day. Rafa could not extend his title chase following the quarter-final loss to his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.
A teenager defeated the legend 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes for a place in the semis. Carlos saved six out of nine break points and grabbed four return games from five opportunities to control the scoreboard in sets he won. The youngster overpowered the veteran with 37 winners and 31 unforced errors, dictating the pace and showing his incredible skills in front of the home fans. Nadal got broken three times in the opening set and bounced back in the second after Alcaraz’s ankle injury. The youngster was ready to give his best in the decider, barely losing a point behind the initial shot and delivering a single break in game four to emerge at the top and end Nadal’s campaign.