Rafael Nadal built the advantage on short and medium exchanges. He kept his cool after a slow start and shifted into a higher gear to extend his remarkable streak. Both players held to 15 in the first few games of the match to put their names on the scoreboard.
Evans broke in the third game after a forehand error by Nadal and took the next game on an unreturned serve for a 3-1 lead. The Brit took the sixth game after another loose forehand from his opponent, and the Spaniard stayed in contention with his serve a few minutes later.
Rafa broke again in the eighth game and held 15 in the next with a service winner to take the lead. Daniel clinched the tenth game with a forehand winner and created break point at 5-5 for a great chance. Nadal saved it with a game-winning volley into the net and closed the game with a game-winning smash for 6-5.
Evans made a forehand error in the twelfth game to offer set points to his opponent. Nadal took advantage of the second after a double fault from Evans to make it 7-5 in 56 minutes. Rafa kept the tie at the beginning of the second set with an unreturned serve and broke Daniel in the second game after a terrible smash from the British.
Nadal forced his opponent’s error in the third game to open a 3-0 gap and faced break point at 3-1 after a forehand error. Rafa denied it with a volley winner and held on after Daniel’s wild forehand to stay in front.
The Spaniard closed out game seven at love point to carve out a 5-2 lead and move closer to the finish line. Evans extended the duel with a love point in the eighth game, and Nadal served for the 5-3 victory. Rafa claimed the opening point with a game-winning volley into the net and painted a backhand bullet down the line for three match points.
The Spaniard took advantage of the first with a forehand winner to seal the deal and advance to the round of 16.
Nadal made history
On Friday, Rafael Nadal bid an emotional farewell to Mexico City – the place where he won his first ATP 500 title way back in February 2005.
“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away. Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved,” the Spaniard said.
“It is an unforgettable feeling to live in such an environament in Mexico, I can only say thank you for the unconditional support, it is a country that has treated me like another Mexican. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to you,” he added.
“For me the main thing right now is to be able to get to the important tournaments in full physical condition. I continue to enjoy day-by-day and I continue to have goals that excite me at a professional level. I’m going to try to achieve them until my body or mind says enough. At the moment, that hasn’t happened so I want to continue,” he said.
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