Rafael Nadal continues his fantastic return to tennis from his knee injury with his first hard court tournament victory since 2010. The Spaniards opponent was the extremely skilled Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, who had defeated both world number one Novak Djokovic and British number one Andy Murray in previous rounds.
In a match that could have gone either way, Del Potro controlled the game for the first set. Nadal then dominated for the remaining two sets and had the upper hand on the Argentine. Rafael Nadal eventually left triumphant after a well fought game from both heavyweights, despite losing the first set. The final score was 4-6 6-3 6-4.
It was confirmed on Sunday that Rafael Nadal will not be taking part in the upcoming tournament, worth 1000 ATP Ranking points, Sony Open in Miami. The 11-time Grand Slam winner revealed, “The doctors recommend me to be back home for a few weeks, rest a little bit and keep practising the right way. I need more power in the left leg quadriceps, so I need to keep working hard. The competition is tough on the body, so after four fantastic weeks I can’t go to Miami. I need to prepare and rest for the next one.”
After surpassing all expectations of his comeback and winning one of the biggest hard court tournaments of the year which includes all of the leading tennis players, Nadal will now rest for a few weeks before returning to action again. After he won his 600th match, Nadal admitted, “It’s probably one of the most emotional victories of my career. The support since I came back has been huge. It’s an unforgettable week for me and an unforgettable tournament.”
Juan Martin del Potro had an appalling start to this match going 3-0 down in games, but he dug deep and found form losing only one of the next 7 games giving himself the first set advantage. However, Nadal used his ferocious forehand to dominate the second set and level things up. From then on, Nadal went on a five game streak and had one hand on the silverware until Del Potro started playing up to scratch again bringing the final set to 5-4. In the final game, Nadal easily served out to earn a record 22nd Masters Title.
Following his impressive victory, Nadal spoke about the match, he commented, “I started the match playing fantastic, and then Del Potro started playing a little more aggressive. In my opinion, I tried to change too early against his forehand. I was playing much too aggressive for my game. When I was able to calm myself, I began to play better. I started to play a little bit slower; my movement was unbelievable. Then I play a fantastic match.” There is no doubt that Nadal is back to his best, but the question is, can he continue his form and win even more tournaments?