Former World No.1 Rafael Nadal has opened his account at the Barcelona Open 2021 after a two-hour and 20-minute marathon rally against Ilya Ivashka on Pista Rafa Nadal court.
Nadal Worried After Losing First Set Against An Qualifier In Barcelona
Following the Monte Carlo quarterfinal’s upset, Spaniard is now competing in Barcelona’s ATP 500 category event. No.1 seed bounced back after an unexpected first set loss to oust the Belarusian qualifier (3-6, 6-2, 6-4).
After a crucial victory, the 11-time event champion revealed he was distressed after giving up the opening set on his named central court.
“Of course, I was worried. If not, I am lying. I do not like to lie. I am human. When you lose the first set, and you are not playing well, of course, I am worried, but at the same time, I am focused on trying to change the dynamic of the match,” Nadal said in the post-match interview.
“So more than worried, I was expecting a reaction from myself. Try to play with different energy and try to play more aggressive, because, in the first, it has been impossible to play like this and try to play more forehands, which I did.
I think I did it better later, even if it was not perfect. The dynamic of the match changed a lot, and that’s why I am here with the victory today,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion added.
Rafael Nadal Sets Up Third-Round Showdown With Kei Nishikori at Barcelona Open 2021
To confirm a quarterfinal spot in Barcelona, Rafael Nadal will now lock horns with rival Kei Nishikori. Spaniard leads Japanese 11-2 in their head-to-head series.
The 13-time Roland Garros title winner continued, “Tomorrow, of course, it’s going to be a very tough third round. I need to play better than today. I need to play well. I will try to make that happen. It’s another opportunity for me to play against another great player. Let’s see. I am focused on trying to find a better level and looking forward to making that happen.”
In their last meeting, the eventual champion Nadal powered past Nishikori in straight sets(6-1, 6-1, 6-3) at the 2019 French Open quarterfinal.