Madrid tournament | Nadal eliminated, Alcaraz, Swiatek, Medvedev and Rublev advance to next round

(Madrid) Rafael Nadal had to take a short break when he spoke to the crowd, following his defeat in the fourth round of the Madrid Open.

As fans chanted “Rafa, Rafa, Rafa,” the five-time champion in Madrid delivered a farewell speech after his 7-5, 6-4 loss at the hands of Jiri Lehecka on Tuesday.

It was probably his last official match at the tournament in the Spanish capital.

“It’s a tough day when it comes, but that’s the reality. My body and my life have been sending me signs for some time now, Nadal said. I was able to greet you while playing on this field. At times, the Madrid tournament was more important to me than a Grand Slam. The memories I had here will stay with me for the rest of my life. »

After the match, tournament organizers unfurled five banners for each of Nadal’s Madrid titles, in 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017. They also showed a video of his highlights, while his wife and sister were crying in the stands.

“What you did for me was a gift in the 21 years I played here,” said Nadal, who won 22 Grand Slam singles titles. All I can say is thank you. »


Rafael Nadal

Nadal had not lost on clay against a player outside the top 20 since his defeat against Pablo Cuevas in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He was aiming for a 60e victory in Madrid and a 100e career participation in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament.

Earlier in the day, a Spaniard hoping to take the reins from Nadal advanced to the next round. Carlos Alcaraz needed almost three hours to overcome Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets of 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4).

After two rather easy victories, Alcaraz, the two-time defending champion, was tested in Madrid.


Carlos Alcaraz

The tournament’s second seed, Alcaraz wasted four match points while serving with a 5-3 lead in the third set. However, he converted his first decisive ball in the tiebreaker on the center court of the Caja Magica.

“I was not at my best physically towards the end of the match, but I am happy, in the end, to have found (the level of) my game,” analyzed the young Spaniard, who had also needed of three rounds to beat Struff in 2023.

“I fought for every ball and I didn’t give up despite some difficult moments when things weren’t going in my favor. »

Alcaraz is trying to become the first player to win the Madrid Open three years in a row. His next opponent will be seventh-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev, who defeated Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-4.


Andrey Rublev

Alcaraz did not play in Monte Carlo or Barcelona to try to fully recover before the French Open. He beat Alexander Shevchenko and Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets in his first two matches in Madrid.

For his part, the favorite Jannik Sinner eliminated the Russian Karen Khachanov 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 and reached the quarter-finals in Madrid for the first time. He is the only player to have qualified for the quarter-finals of all four ATP Masters 1000 tournaments this season.

“I think it was really tough today, because at times he was serving really well and it was hard to return (the ball),” Sinner said.

“I made a few mistakes in the first set when he broke my serve, but it can happen. In the second set, I tried to be focused from the start, I broke his serve, and the confidence level increased a little. »

Sinner now faces Montreal’s Félix Auger-Aliassime, who toppled fifth-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 7-5.

In other men’s singles matches, third-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Bublik 7-6 (3), 6-4. Medvedev will face Lehecka in the next round.

“He made a lot of drop shots, and towards the end (of the match) I was exhausted from having to run them relentlessly,” Medvedev said. This is when you lose your concentration, and your level of play starts to deteriorate. That’s what happened, but after the meeting he (Bublik) told me that he was exhausted too. So at least I wasn’t the only one feeling flat. »

Francisco Cerundolo, who is ranked 22e in the world, overthrew the double champion of the Madrid tournament, Alexander Zverev, in two sets of 6-3, 6-4 to record his third career victory against a tennis player from top 5 global.


Daniel Medvedev

Cerundolo will meet in the next round with the American Taylor Fritz, who beat the Pole Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Swiatek comes from behind

In the women’s category, Iga Swiatek erased a one-set deficit and defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the final four in Madrid for the second year in a row .


Iga Swiatek

Swiatek, the tournament favorite, led 4-1 in the first set, but the Brazilian orchestrated a comeback. The Pole was in full control of the match for the next two sets, en route to a fifth appearance in the semi-finals of a WTA tournament this season.

In the next round, Swiatek will face American Madison Keys, 18e first in the series. Like the Pole, Keys erased a one-set deficit to eliminate Tunisian Ons Jabeur, ranked eighth, 0-6, 7-5, 6-1.

The Madrid Open is the only tournament on clay on European soil to escape, even today, Swiatek’s record.


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