Rafael Nadal eases to victory over Darwin Blanch at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal eased to victory over teenage wildcard Darwin Blanch at La Caja Magica as he aims to prove his fitness in time for the French Open.

In what is set to be his final appearance at the Madrid Open, Spaniard Nadal made light work of his 16-year-old opponent with a comfortable 6-1 6-0 win.

Nadal, 37, has hinted at retirement several times this year but overcame the biggest age gap ever between two singles players at a Masters event to set up a second-round clash with 10th seed Alex de Minaur.

”It’s great after how things have developed the last few years, every time I have the chance to be on court in this amazing stadium with an unconditional supportive crowd, it means a lot to me,” Nadal said after the win.

“I’m just trying to enjoy every moment. Tomorrow, one more day of practise here and then after tomorrow, on court again. That makes me feel great.”

Struggling with injury and currently ranked 644th in the world, Nadal said he will only compete at Roland Garros next month if he feels physically able.

He has won the French Open 14 times and would likely be making his final appearance in a tournament he has made his own in recent years.


French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said on Thursday: “We’re keeping our fingers crossed, especially for him.

“He knows he’s at home here. We will follow and support whatever he wishes to do.”

Nadal lost to De Minaur at the Barcelona Open last week and will be hoping to avenge that loss to go deeper into the tournament in Madrid.

On the women’s side, Coco Gauff needed less than an hour to dispatch Arantxa Rus 6-0 6-0 while Naomi Osaka was on the receiving end of a 6-2 4-6 7-5 loss to Liudmila Samsonova.

World number one Iga Swiatek also progressed unscathed following a 6-1 6-4 victory over China’s Xiyu Wang.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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