ATP Masters – Rafael Nadal – Casper Ruud Nadal defeats Ruud, 7-5, 7-5

Nadal saves the honor. Already eliminated from the race for the semi-finals, the Spaniard, beaten in his first two matches in Turin, won his match against a Casper Ruud already assured of finishing in first place in the Green group and therefore logically not at 100 % (7-5, 7-5). Very skilful in the service, the Spaniard, each time, took advantage of an air pocket on the other side of the net at the end of the set to win his last match of the year in 1h42.

Nadal can leave the Pala Alpitour with a little less regret. Dominated until then by Taylor Fritz and FĂ©lix Auger-Aliassime, the fierce competitor had nothing to play for this Thursday. But in a period when he had just conceded four defeats in a row, this meeting against the one he dominated in the final of Roland Garros in May was to serve to find some benchmarks and above all a little confidence in view of the year 2023. .

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Nadal found the punch on the serve

In delicacy on his face-off so far, he has shown that he was fully mobilized by serving the fire. Author of 16 aces, winner of 93% of the points he disputed behind his first ball, the Majorcan chained shutouts in this part. Admittedly, Casper Ruud surely lacked the motivation to put up a fierce resistance to him. The Norwegian was still the first to get break points in this part.

But the US Open finalist lacked sharpness and precision on these two pivotal points, which could have tipped the match in his favor. And finally, it was he who broke first, completely missing his service game, at 6-5 in favor of his opponent to let the first act slip away. Despite a few avoidable fouls, Nadal seemed more comfortable with the slow pace dictated by Christian’s son, and he enjoyed a few forehands.

Finally, the second act was almost a copy and paste of the first, since, still trailing 6-5 by the man at the 22 Grand Slams, Ruud again faltered at the worst moment, allowing the Spaniard to claim the 21st victory. of his Masters career. Nadal will be able to take advantage of the end-of-season break to clear his mind and revive before going to defend his title at the Australian Open next January-February. The world number 4, he must now remobilize to try to get a place in the final, against Stefanos Tsitsipas or Andrey Rublev.

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