Speaking for the documentary ‘Break Point’, Casper Ruud recalled his final last year at Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal. The Norwegian reached his first Major final in Paris and faced the toughest obstacle possible on the other side of the net.
Rafa chained 11 consecutive games and won 6-3, 6-3 and 6-0 in two hours and 18 minutes, thus achieving his 14th Roland Garros title in as many finals. Casper joked that he would pray to God to avoid Rafa at Roland Garros in the future, hoping to face any other opponent instead.
The Norwegian took advantage of a favorable draw to achieve the best result of his career and become the first finalist of a Major from his country. However, he didn’t stand a chance against the king of clay, who broke him eight times in 16 chances.
With 37 winners and 18 unforced errors, Rafa pushed his opponent’s backhand to the limit in one of his closest Roland Garros finals. They stood neck-and-neck at the shortest range up to four hits. However, Nadal carved out victory in the later exchanges after playing well from both wings.
The Spaniard was especially impressive in rallies with five or six shots, building a 24-6 lead and marching over the finish line with a donut in the third set. Rafa teeed off in the second game of the match and broke with a forehand cross winner.
Ruud recovered the break in the next one after a loose forehand from Nadal to put his name on the scoreboard. The Norwegian experienced the second break in game four after a deflected forehand put the Spaniard 3-1 ahead. A service winner put Rafa 4-1 ahead, and in the seventh game he delivered a backhand winner to make it 5-2.
Nadal served for the set at 5-3 and with a service winner closed out the first set in 48 minutes.
Rafa Nadal wants to go far
Qualified for the second round of the Australian Open when he was predicted hell against the young and dangerous British, Jack Draper, Rafael Nadal has once again shown himself to be more physically solid than his opponent.
Data so important for the Spaniard that he even lost weight during the off-season as he revealed in the post-match press conference. “Physically, I did well. I am much thinner than I have been in recent years. I have been working hard in the last few weeks on the physical level so that the results finally come.
Today (Monday) I had a breakthrough. I won an important game. When you work hard, results come. Like I said, physically I’m not bad. My legs are more or less fast. In tennis, it’s hard to separate things. When you’re confident and hit without thinking, you’re better positioned on the court and hit better in the right places.
Without having all the automatics as standard, I think I’m fast in the field. I train well and I just need to extend the good times.”
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