Nadal, who claimed a record-setting twenty first Grand Slam title on the Australian Open in January, improved to 20-0 in 2022, pushed throughout three hours and 12 minutes by the 18-year-old aiming to comply with in the footsteps of his childhood idol.
Fritz superior with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over world quantity seven Andrey Rublev. Nadal gained his solely prior assembly with the 24-year-old American in the final at Acapulco in 2020.
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Nadal’s expertise was key in a see-saw battle in difficult winds that strengthened in the second set, sending particles skittering throughout the court docket and at one level forcing a readjustment of the billowing internet late in the second set.
The array of photographs and athleticism which have already stamped Alcaraz a star have been on full show, however a bent to go for an excessive amount of in the important thing moments could have contributed to some damaging errors.
Even so, Nadal wanted 5 set factors to emerge with a hard-fought first set that opened with Alcaraz profitable the primary two video games.
The second sport was a titanic battle to carry serve in which the younger participant fought off 5 of the astonishing 17 break factors he would face in the set.
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Nadal gained the following 4 video games earlier than surrendering his serve once more, however he pocketed the set with one other break in the tenth sport.
Down 0-40, Alcaraz delivered a drop shot winner, a backhand volley winner and a service winner.
A forehand into the online gave Nadal one other alternative, which the previous world primary squandered with a straightforward forehand miss. He’d make no mistake two factors later, pocketing the set on his fifth alternative.
The second set was a decent affair, Alcaraz once more seizing the initiative with a break for a 3-2 lead.
That launched a run of 5 straight breaks of serve, the final one other marathon lasting virtually 20 minutes in which Nadal saved 5 break factors and missed two sport factors earlier than Alcaraz lastly put him away with a lob that dropped simply contained in the baseline as Nadal scrambled in useless to get again to it.
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Alcaraz, who had gained simply three video games in his solely prior profession assembly with Nadal in Madrid 10 months in the past, then served out the set with an unreturnable serve on his first set level.
As the wind died down once more, the third set noticed each gamers hitting winners from each quarter of the court docket.
Nadal, confronted with Alcaraz’s pace across the court docket, stepped up his assault, coming to the online extra in a bid to finish the rallies.
It was his forehand volley in the eighth sport that gave Nadal a break and a 5-3 lead and he served it out with a love sport.
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