Rafael Nadal will kick off his Madrid Masters campaign against an in-form Serb Miomir Kecmanovic. Nadal will play his first match since the Indian Wells final, doing his best to recover from a rib injury and hoping to make a winning start.
Kecmanovic is among the players with the most wins this season, delivering one good result after another and setting the clash against a four-time Caja Magica champion. Rafa and Miomir played against each other eleven two years ago in Acapulco, and the Spaniard scored a 6-2, 7-5 triumph in an hour and 35 minutes.
A two-time champion looked good on the court, controlling the pace with sharp and aggressive strokes and keeping the youngster behind. Miomir broke Rafa twice from three chances. Still, that was not enough to keep him safe after dropping half of the points in his games and suffering five breaks from six opportunities offered to Nadal.
The Spaniard needed three deuces and seven minutes to secure the opening game with a forehand winner.
Rafael Nadal and Miomir Kecmanovic are the opponents at the Madrid Masters.
He found the rhythm on the return and broke Miomir at 15 to open a 2-0 advantage when the Serb netted a forehand.
Staying aggressive, Rafa closed the third game with a service winner and grabbed a break at love to move further in front with a fantastic forehand down the line winner. Nadal forced Kecmanovic’s error to gain a 5-0 lead after 24 minutes before the youngster held at 15 with a service winner to finally get his name from him on the scoreboard and avoid a bagel.
Serving for the set, Rafa got broken following a beautiful forehand down the line winner from Miomir. The Serb prolonged the opener for one more game before the Spaniard broke him at love to secure the set 6-2 in 37 minutes.
Nadal secured the second set’s opening game with a forehand down the line winner. The Serb was ready to fight this time, and he forced an error from world no. 2 in game two to level the score at 1-1. A volley winner closed the third game for Rafa before Miomir responded with a backhand down the line winner on his serve to lock the result and gain confidence.
A service winner pushed Nadal 3-2 in front, but he was yet to create some damage on the return, as Kecmanovic clinched the sixth game with an ace for 3-3. The most experienced player held at love in game seven to remain in front and produced another marvelous running forehand winner in the next one to earn a break and open a 5-3 gap.
Serving for the victory, Rafa suddenly got broken at 15 thanks to Miomir’s beautiful volley winner. The Serb refused to surrender and held at love in game ten to level the score at 5-5 with some powerful serving. Ending his downfall, Nadal held at 15 with a service winner to open a 6-5 gap and forced Kecmanovic to serve to stay in the match.
Drawing mistakes from the youngster, Rafa created match points and converted the first to grab a break and advance into the quarter-final.