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A WINNING START | Nadal beats teenager Blanch in Madrid, faces De Minaur next

IANS | Updated on Friday, April 26, 2024 11:17 AM IST
Nadal beats teenager Blanch in Madrid, faces De Minaur next

MADRID: Rafael Nadal made a winning start at the Madrid Open when he raced past 16-year-old wild card Darwin Blanch 6-1, 6-0 after 64 minutes.

A five-time champion in Madrid, Nadal owns the most wins (57) at the Caja Magica, where the home favourite first claimed the title in 2008 and most recently triumphed in 2017.

In what was the largest age gap (21 years, 117 days) between two opponents at ATP Masters 1000 level, Nadal won 59 per cent of his return points and did not face a break point on his own serve, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

"He’s a very young player, I think he has a great future ahead of him. He has very powerful shots, but I think he’s lacked continuity. I wish him all the best. I played fine, I’m happy, this gave me the opportunity of having another day in Madrid, which means a lot to me. I need to play these tournaments and I think it’s part of a process of improvement," said Nadal.

Nadal, who is making his 20th appearance in Madrid this fortnight, play in the second round of the tournament against tenth seed Alex de Minaur, whom he faced a week ago on the clay of Barcelona.

"Last week it wasn’t to be and this week I’m sure it’ll be more difficult. But I’ll have the chance to play again. Anything that comes now is a gift, so I’m happy to go out on court again, and excited to do so as well as possible. I’ll try to be as competitive as I can," added Nadal.