Rafael Nadal has filled the last available quarter-final spot at the Mutua Madrid Open. The Spaniard, charged with closing out the day’s ATP play in the night session in the Manolo Santana Stadium, saw off Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, in one hour and 32 minutes to keep alive his chances of a sixth crown in the Caja Mágica.
The second seed seems to have rediscovered some form on the Madrid clay, in his tenth match this season on the slowest surface (8-2). The Mallorcan has now also reached his tenth quarter-final in eleven participations since the tournament moved to clay.
Nadal only needed four games to inflict the first blow of the match on the American with a break (3-1) at the second time of asking. 83% of points on his serve (20/24) was enough to secure the first set. With fresh legs, a blistering forehand and a confident backhand, the Spaniard was superior to his adversary in every facet of the game. Even when he was asked big questions, he was able to come out on top.
The world number 2’s first difficulties of the match came in the fourth game of the second set at 1-2 and 30-40. Having saved himself from danger, he immediately returned the threat and took the lead once more at 4-2. The Balearic Islander then held on to his lead until he had sewn up the match.
In the quarters, Nadal will take on Stan Wawrinka, who knocked out sixth seed Kei Nishikori today, 6-3, 7-6(3). The Spaniard and the Swiss have met twenty times before (17-3), one of which was in the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open final.
Did you know…?
In the quarter-finals, Nadal will be bidding for victory number 20 this season. The Spaniard has a win record of 19-4 this year. His return on clay in 2019 is 8-2.