Nadal Fights Back to Reach Second Round in Rome

Nadal Fights Back to Reach Second Round in Rome

Rafael Nadal continued his preparation for the French Open by overcoming a set deficit to defeat Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in the opening round of the Italian Open in Rome. The 10-time Italian Open champion secured victory with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 scoreline.

Nadal, 37, has expressed intentions to retire after the 2024 season. Despite not being at his peak, the former world number one noted that he “found a way to win” on his favorite clay surface while gearing up for what is expected to be his final appearance at the French Open later this month.

“My game is more unpredictable than before; I haven’t played much tennis for two years, but I think I can do better than that,” Nadal remarked.

Having made his comeback from a three-month injury absence at the Barcelona Open in April, Nadal reached the last 16 of the Madrid Open last week before falling to Czech player Jiri Lehecka.

Nadal Secures Victory After Tough Start in Italy

In Italy, Rafael Nadal had a challenging start on his favored surface. The 22-time Grand Slam champion broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set, but his advantage was short-lived as Zizou Bergs, ranked 108 in the world, quickly equalized. A double fault handed Bergs a break, allowing the 24-year-old to serve out the set.

A medical emergency in the crowd halted play one game into the second set, and upon resumption, Nadal found his rhythm. He surged to a 3-0 lead and maintained his composure, firing a forehand winner and fist-pumping towards the crowd as he leveled the match.

Nadal broke early in the third set and overcame a 40-0 deficit, saving three break points to move 4-2 ahead. A powerful forehand winner sealed the victory and secured Nadal’s spot in the second round, where he will face Polish world number nine Hubert Hurkacz.

Meanwhile, British duo Dan Evans and Jack Draper, world number one Iga Swiatek, and US Open winner Coco Gauff are set to compete later on Thursday in Rome.

Tennis Expert Andrew Huggard
reviewed by: Andrew Huggard (Tennis Expert)

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