Nadal halts Auger-Aliassime’s Madrid Open dream
Rafael Nadal made an impressive first outing at the on-going Madrid Open by putting paid to the hype and hopes surrounding his second round match with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, whom he defeated 6/3, 6/3.
However, seventh seeded Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina suffered an upset 6/2, 2/6, 7/5 defeat to Serbia’s Lasio Dere on Arantxa Sanchez Court.
Nadal held serve in the opening game of the first set, but the Canadian leveled one-all. In the fourth game, Auger-Aliassime recovered from 15-30 to reach 40-30 game point, but was taken to deuce before he held serve for two-all.
Each player held serve until the eighth game in which Felix raced to 40-15, but Nadal cancelled the game point before taking the break on his first opportunity to lead 5-3. The Maestro promptly served out the set.
In the second set, Nadal broke Auger-Aliassime in the opening game and held to lead 2-0. From that stage, each player held serve but Auger-Aliassime required an extra effort to hold his serve in the third and fifth games. In the ninth game, Auger-Aliassime was taken to deuce with Nadal taking the game on the first advantage, for the set and match.
It was the first match for Juan Martin Del Potro on a comeback from injury and rehabilitation. His opponent won the first set 6/2, but he took the second by the same score. The third set was a seesaw battle in which each player held serve. The crucial break came in the 12th game and Lasio was through to the third round.
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland was dominant in defeating Guido Pella of Argentina 6/3, 6/4, just as America’s Frances Tiafoe outlasted Germany’s veteran Philip Kohlschreiber 6/4, 3/6, 6/3 in a thrilling encounter.
The fourth seeded Dominic Thiem lost the first set in a tie break to lanky Reilly Opelka but won the second set 6/3 and led 1-0 in the third when his opponent retired due to injury to his right hip.
In other matches, Jeremy Chardy of France had a one-sided match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, who he defeated 6/1, 6/2. However, sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan had a tough battle in defeating Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 7/5, 7/5 to proceed to the third round.