World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was let off the hook in the Mutua Madrid Open final on Sunday when Kei Nishikori retired at 2-6, 6-4, 3-0. It was the fourth career Madrid title for Nadal, who it remains to be seen if the Madrid gift will be enough to restore the Spaniard’s confidence.
“He played very aggressively and he went for his shots,” Nadal said. “He came on court with the determination to take the ball very early and go for winners.”
It was the first Masters-level final for Nishikori, who climbs into the Top 10 for the first time.
In the second set Nishikori requested a visit from the trainer for his back after the seventh game. In the third set Nishikori finally retired down 0-3.
“I am very disappointed about what happened in this final,” Nishikori said. “Unfortunately, I was hurting already and I tried to fight but Rafa was too good today, so congratulations to him.”
Nishikori says he will miss Rome and attempt to be ready for the French Open.
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