It wasn’t his best performance, but Rafael Nadal was a winner in his opener in his Buenos Aires title last night. In a rematch of the 2015 final Nadal beat good friend Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-4, also overcoming a stomach ache.
“I’m happy for the victory,” Nadal said. “The start was tough, as Juan is a good player and the big humidity here in Argentina made it difficult. I am happy to be through and hope to be ready for tomorrow.
“It’s really humid. I had a stomach ache during the match, but (on Friday) I have a new chance to keep growing,” he said.
Nadal was broken four times and won just 40% of his second serves. Next up later this afternoon will be Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi.
“I don’t like playing at 4:00 p.m. with the heat and humidity, but there’s no choice because he’s playing doubles. Paolo Lorenzi is a difficult opponent who just pulled off a comeback win (over Argentine Diego Schwartzman),” Nadal told EFE.
“He knows how to play tennis and presents problems. I’m going to try to play aggressively and try to win.”
David Ferrer, who beat Renzo Olivo, faces Pablo Cuevas and Nicolas Almagro meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In Rotterdam, 18-year-old Alexander Zverev won the biggest match of his young career beating Gilles Simon 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4).
“The crowd helped me so much,” Zverev said. “I really had to give it all I’ve got. When I was cramping, my box was worried, but I fought hard and stayed in there. Gilles can run all day long so it was tough for me physically.”
Zverev faces another Frenchman tonight in Gael Monfils. “We’ll see how I feel because right now I’m quite exhausted, but I am very happy to be in the quarter-finals.”
The streaking Roberto Bautista Agut and US Open champion Marin Cilic are also in action.
Zverev wasn’t the only youngster shining. In Memphis, Taylor Fritz reached his first ATP-level quarterfinal after beating countryman Steve Johnson in two tiebreakers.
“I played the big points well,” the 18-year-old Fritz said. “He had a lot more chances than me. He didn’t do anything wrong, but I played just about as well as I could play on the big points. I think that was the difference.”
Fritz will face Benjamin Becker today. Three-time defending champion Kei Nishikori is also on court.
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