Tennis

Rafael Nadal beats Casper Ruud in Buenos Aires

Rafael Nadal kicked off his South American tour with a 7-6, 6-2 win over his good friend Casper Ruud at Arena Parque Roca in Buenos Aires. Rafa and Casper fought at the ATP Finals last week and had no time to rest and enjoy the holidays.

Two good friends boarded a plane and went to Buenos Aires for the first leg of their South American tour, setting up the second clash in Chile in two days. Nadal and Ruud met twice on Tour this year, with Rafa scoring a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory in the Roland Garros final and a 7-5, 7-5 victory in the Finals. ATP.

The Spaniard overcame a slow start against the Norwegian in his first match in Buenos Aires since 2016 and dominated set number two to emerge on top. Rafa served first and closed the opening game of the match with a serve and volley combo.

Casper clinched the second game with an ace on the T line to add his name to the scoreboard. Ruud missed a routine volley at 30-30 in the third game, and Nadal closed it out with an ace to make it 2-1. The Spaniard hit a crossover backhand winner in the fourth game and earned two break points.

Casper kept his cool, denied them and closed the match with a service winner. Rafa faced two break points in the fifth game. He saved the first with a great winner and hit a volley in the second to fall behind 3-2. Nadal painted a game-winning volley in the sixth game for 30-30 and fired a forehand cross for a break chance.

Ruud denied it with a beautiful winner, saved another and brought the game home with an unreturned serve to make it 4-2. The Spaniard clinched game seven with a powerful forehand cross winner and converted the first break point in game eight with a forehand cross winner.

Rafa took the ninth game at the 15th with an unreturned serve and created a set point on the return at 5-4. Casper made the save and held on with a backhand cross that closed out the result at 5-5.

Rafael Nadal had a winning start in South America.

The Spaniard saved a break point in game 11 with a routine winner at net, and the Norwegian claimed the next with a tie-breaking ace.

Ruud carved out a 3-0 lead with a backhand cross and fell within two points of winning the set at 5-3. Casper had two set points at 6-4, but it wasn’t his. Rafa saved the second with a service winner for 6-6 and created set point with a service winner.

Nadal missed a forehand in an ideal situation before saving set point with an ace at 7-8. The Spaniard secured the breaker 10-8 with a great winner into the net for a big drive. Rafa held after deuce in the second game of the second set and secured a break in the next when Casper hit a forehand.

Ruud launched another wayward forehand in the fifth game to experience the second break in a row and fall behind 4-1. Nadal came from 30-0 down in the sixth game and laid down a winning cut to bring it home and move closer to the finish line.

Casper served well as he tried to stay in the set in game eight, and it was Rafa’s turn to seal the deal in the next. At 15-0 in game eight, Nadal launched a forehand leaping down the line winner, firing off one of the fastest forehands of his career! Rafa fell over a service winner to celebrate victory ahead of their second duel in Chile in two days.

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