Rafael Nadal (Getty Photographs)
MADRID: Rafael Nadal started his bid for a sixth Madrid Open title in easy vogue on Wednesday, easing previous teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 to succeed in the final 16.
Nadal, who returned to quantity two on this planet final week after his thrilling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas within the Barcelona closing, strolled previous his 18-year-old opponent within the Spanish capital.
Ranked 120 on this planet, Alcaraz battled bravely and even broke his compatriot Nadal’s serve within the second set however was predictably overwhelmed by one of many recreation’s greats in a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.
Nadal will tackle both rising star Jannik Sinner or Alexei Popyrin within the subsequent spherical.
Clay king Nadal will have already got his eyes on a record-extending 14th French Open triumph, the place victory this yr would additionally edge him forward of Roger Federer‘s 20 main titles and to the highest of the all-time males’s checklist.
Earlier second seed Daniil Medvedev, returning to the circuit after testing constructive for Covid-19 in mid-April, picked up his first win on clay for 2 years when he got here again from a set right down to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The Russian has at all times struggled on clay.
In 4 makes an attempt, he has did not get previous the primary spherical of the French Open. Nor has he gained a match in Rome whereas this was his first win in Madrid in his third look.
“I really like clay,” he stated mockingly into the digicam on the finish of the match.
In complete, the 2021 Australian Open finalist has solely 11 wins on the floor though he may have the possibility to make that 12 when he takes on Christian Garin in final 16.
Fifth seed Alexander Zverev swept previous Kei Nishikori in straight units 6-3, 6-2.
World quantity 9 Diego Schwartzman was dumped out by Aslan Karatsev 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Russian Karatsev will tackle Alexander Bublik within the subsequent spherical.
Within the girls’s draw Ashleigh Barty will tackle Paula Badosa within the semi-finals after beating Petra Kvitova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 on Wednesday.
World primary Barty is chasing her fourth singles title of the yr after her triumph in Stuttgart 10 days in the past.
Within the final 4 she faces the lady who knocked her out within the quarter-finals in Charleston in early April.
On Wednesday, the Australian got here out on prime towards two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, winner of the Madrid match in 2011, 2015 and 2018.
The match appeared settled when Barty surged 3-0 forward within the deciding set.
Kvitova broke again in recreation 5 to shut to 3-2. However, after saving two break factors, she misplaced her serve for a second time within the set in recreation six.
Barty then saved three break factors on her approach to going 5-2 up and held once more two video games later to see out the match.
Wild card Badosa turned the primary Spanish girl within the match’s 12-year historical past to make the semis along with her 6-4, 7-5 win over eighth seed Belinda Bencic.
The 23-year-old’s win over the world quantity 11 was her third towards a participant within the prime 20 following her victories over Bencic and Barty in her run to the semi-finals in Charleston.
Badosa kissed the clay courtroom in celebration of a win that may shoot the world quantity 62 up the WTA rankings.