Rafael Nadal says ‘I found a way to be through’ after latest success in Madrid

Rafael Nadal battled into the fourth round of the Madrid Open with a hard-fought win over Argentina’s Pedro Cachin.

The 37-year-old is still playing within himself as he bids to build his fitness for the French Open next month.

He cruised through the first set but lost a scrappy second in a tie-break before eventually sealing a 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-3 victory in a little more than three hours.

Five-time winner Nadal, playing at his home tournament for probably the last time, said on Sky Sports: “I found a way to be through. In the third I was able to be more unpredictable and I think that changed the match.

“I’m enjoying the fact that I’m playing at home because it means everything to me and I’m trying my best to keep dreaming – and tomorrow is another day.”

Play was briefly halted in the first set  while a spectator required medical treatment, with Cachin rushing to the players’ fridge to send bottles of water into the stand.

When they resumed Nadal promptly secured a third break of serve to wrap up the set.

But Cachin began swinging at the start of the second and broke the Nadal serve twice to lead 4-1 and silence the sell-out Spanish crowd.

The 22-time grand slam champion upped the intensity and retrieved one break before saving two set points in a marathon 10th game to level the set at 5-5.

Cachin looked on the verge of forcing a decider with another break but once again he wilted and Nadal hit back, the old warrior spirit coming to the fore as he celebrated taking the set to a tie-break with four fist pumps.

But an audible groan went up from the crowd when Cachin brought up a set-point on the Nadal serve and passed the veteran to level the match.

However, Nadal secured a break at the start of the third and had to dig deep to ward off the threat of Cachin, who looked to assert himself in the decider.

Ultimately, Nadal’s quality shone through as he claimed victory to set up a fourth-round meeting with 22-year-old Czech Jiri Lehecka.

World number four Daniil Medvedev dropped the first set against American Sebastian Korda but hit back to win 5-7 7-6 (4) 6-3.

He will face Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, who beat up-and-coming American Ben Shelton in three sets, in the last 16.

Briton Cameron Norrie exited in straight sets after a 2-6 4-6 defeat to Norway’s Casper Ruud.

Norrie struggled to find a foothold in the match, falling short in the first set by some margin before he showed his stubbornness in the second.

The South Africa-born player managed to level the second set at 4-4 with some clinical finishes in an attempt to claim a set of his own.

However, Ruud showed his quality late on, punishing Norrie’s mistakes before wrapping up the tie.

World number one Iga Swiatek looks in imperious form as she prepares to defend her Roland Garros title.

The 22-year-old from Poland steamrollered Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 6-0 in just over an hour.

Swiatek, who won 12 successive games and dropped only five points in the second set, will face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals.

Coco Gauff, bidding to become world number two, lost to fellow American Madison Keys 6-7 (4) 6-4 4-6.

Jannik Sinner advanced into the last 16 with a convincing 6-2 7-5 victory over Pavel Kotov.

Sinner came from behind in the second set to seal his place in the next round against Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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