Nadal Strong In Madrid Debut, Ferrer Says Farewell; Federer v Monfils Thursday
by Staff | May 8th, 2019, 8:28 pm

Rafael Nadal showed no signs of a bad stomach bug Wednesday in Madrid, smacking Canadian teen Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 in his Madrid opener.

“It’s a day to be very satisfied, very happy. I managed to win. I managed to win in two sets [against] an opponent, who was not easy, and the day was not the best. It was windy and cold,” Nadal said. “Of course there have been positive things. I think that my backhand has been really well and other things. There are many things to improve, of course.

“The important thing is to win, especially given what’s happened in the last three days,” he added.

“The first seven games I didn’t have a lot of rhythm. Both him and I, we were struggling when returning the balls. We had a lot of first serves and returning was very difficult… I managed to do a break, and from there onwards, it’s a turning point. I think I started to return a little bit better from thereon. And I did things better than him.”

Seeking a sixth Madrid title on clay, Nadal will now face American youngster Frances Tiafoe who took down Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

“Frances is a very high-level opponent. He has a lot of speed. He’s very aggressive. And he’s an electric player. He serves very well. He moves very good on the clay,” Nadal said. “He comes in with a lot of confidence.

“He has that drive and energy, and it will be a good test for me and an opportunity for me to play a tough match and to keep improving.”

The other big story on the day was the final match for Spanish great and French Open finalist David Ferrer. Early on, it looked like Ferrer would play another day as the 37-year-old jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the struggling Alexander Zverev. But the German suddenly found the mark to run off nine straight games and take it 6-4, 6-1.

A 20-minute celebration on the court followed with his friends, family and Manolo Santana coming on the court.

“It’s been a very emotional night,” Ferrer said after. “It’s been completely different to any other important moment in my life that I have experienced previously. I was not expecting it.

“I never expected a goodbye or farewell like today. I tried to play at a high level during the last year, but a day like today, people at work tomorrow, everyone stays here to support me and that is something that I will only have in my mind and in my heart. It’s something I will never forget.

“It’s the only match that I have lost and I’m not very sad. Whenever I lost a match in the past, I left very sad. Today I’m not sad. Today is a day that I want to enjoy, and I’m very happy to be able to enjoy a day like today.”

Zverev, who was in need of a big victory, will try to win consecutive matches at an event for a first time since Acapulco tomorrow in the third round against the tough Pol Hubert Hurkacz who beat Lucas Pouile 7-5, 6-1.

Juan Martin del Potro’s 2019 clay debut didn’t end with a win, but he didn’t get injured. The Argentine fell to Serb Laslo Djere 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Djere served 4-5, 30-40 in the third set down a match point before recovering. Del Potro finished just 2-for-11 on break chances.

Djere, who won Rio earlier this year, will face Marin Cilic.

Fernando Verdasco joined Rafa in the third round after a tough 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5 win over the slumping Karen Khachanov. Next for Verdasco is Stefanos Tsitsipas who beat Adrian Mannarino in straights.

Stan Wawrinka took down the clay win leader on the year, Guido Pella, 6-3, 6-4. Showing improved form of late, Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori tomorrow. Nishikori had a tougher-than-expected test over Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 7-5, 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy and Fabio Fognini were also winners.

Headlining Thursday, Roger Federer returns to face Gael Monfils in their first meeting in almost five years. Federer leads 9-4 in that series and he also seeks his 1,200th career victory.

Novak Djokovic is also back, he’ll face Chardy who he has beaten in all 12 previous meetings.

It’s also the first time in years that all of the Big 3 – Federer, Nadal and Djokovic – will be on the same day on the clay.

Manolo Santana 12:00 Noon
QF 3 Simona Halep v 9 Ashleigh Barty
Not Before 2:00 Pm
3rd Rd 1 Novak Djokovic v Jeremy Chardy
Not Before 4:00 Pm
3rd Rd 4 Roger Federer v 15 Gael Monfils
Not Before 8:00 Pm
3rd Rd Frances Tiafoe v 2 Rafael Nadal
Not Before 9:30 Pm
QF 7 Kiki Bertens v 2 Petra Kvitova

Arantxa Sanchez 12:00 Noon
3rd Rd 9 Marin Cilic v Laslo Djere
Not Before 2:00 Pm
QF 1 Naomi Osaka v Belinda Bencic
Not Before 4:00 Pm
QF 8 Sloane Stephens v Petra Martic
3rd Rd (Q) Hubert Hurkacz v 3 Alexander Zverev

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35 Comments for Nadal Strong In Madrid Debut, Ferrer Says Farewell; Federer v Monfils Thursday

jatin Says:

Ferrer was an ultimate fighter. Will miss him in the tour.
Wish him Best of luck for the future.

jatin Says:

Federer is in Sublime form today.
Mixing it up so well.
Leads 4-0.
Loving his transition to clay.

skeezer Says:

5-0 :)

jatin Says:

So We are in the verge of bagel now ?
Such Smart Tennis by Fed.
Its 15 minutes and Fed leads 5-0.

jatin Says:

Yes skeezer ;)
Its looks like Fed has picked his Miami form again.

skeezer Says:

Honestly this is Feds best Clay surface. The other Clay surfaces play much slower and heavier.
I would expect Monfils to play better here in this match also, he is a cagey player….

skeezer Says:

And…..boom. Monfils breaks to go up 2-0 in the 2nd.

jatin Says:

Monfils on FIRE now. This is what make him so dangerous.
Leads 3-0. IN ZONE NOW

RZ Says:

Farewell to Ferrer, who always gave it his all.
I remember one brief rare moment of Tennis-X unity when we all rooted for him to win the Paris Masters in 2012.

chrisford1 Says:

David Ferrer is the classic overachiever who never quit practicing hard, trying to get better. Told by tennis sports agents working with sponsors that rejected him as a teen he would be lucky to crack the Top 200, he made #3 in the world and gained a rep as a Davis Cup Legend and a pro’s pro.
He often lost to the Big 4, never managed to beat Federer, but always gave it all he had and was not an “easy match” for anyone. He often won just on his will to win. It earned him one of the great nicknames “The Little Beast”.
Bright guy, well liked. He should do fine after his single tennis days are done.
Good luck, David!

jatin Says:

Monfils very solid from baseline.
Fed has to mix it up otherwise he could get over soon.

Van orten Says:

at least he will play Rome now … such a pity he let monfils back in the game .. but the lack of match play on clay shows right now .. maybe he can turn it around .. if monfils stays to be monfils in the next minutes

Daniel Says:

Federer let this match slip by. And the worst is Monfils has no conditon of going beyond semis, so we know is a unuseful win. Much rather see Fed x Thiem or Fed x Djoko later on.

Monfils has credit to put 1st serve in, when Fed had a BP 4-4 that was virtually MP. Broke Fed next game to close the set and again this set.

FedExpress Says:

Federer seems visibly pissed off.

skeezer Says:

Monfils has been playing well this year, and it looks like he still has his confidence. Agree VO, his lack of match play hurts him, but also noticed his movement is not up to par. Wether that is ‘losing a step” or just not used to the surface I cannot tell, yet. Credit to Monfils for coming back and playing superb,

jatin Says:


Daniel Says:

Replay of set2, Monfils 4-2, Fed holds to love and break after. Great return slice DTl with Monfils surprisingly attacjing the net after 2nd serve.

Fed better take his chances and hold all his games minimum to the end. Either Monfils cracks again or he forces a tiebreak. But he will serve under pressure twice if set goes on serve.

Daniel Says:

Wawrinka beats Kei to face most likely Nadal tomorrow.

C’mon Fed, no getting broken now, serving against the wind, but with new balls

Daniel Says:

Another DTL slice passing shot by Fed. BP

Daniel Says:

Fed to serve under pressure now to force breaker. Hope he doesn’t get broken as second set when he had BP, didn’t convert and got broken right after. Lats 2 service games he was flawless with 1st serves in and volleys. Fed winning more points than Monfils this last 6 games, so on paper he has better odds of winning. Monfils double faulting a lot and if he does so in tiebreak, better chances for Fed.

Daniel Says:

H better serve big

Daniel Says:

Fed is brave, lol
Second serve and net down MP

Daniel Says:

Yeah, 2 MPs saved and tiebreak it is.
Tense game.

Daniel Says:

He made DF every time he serve since 4-1. Fed 1-0

Daniel Says:

4-1 and 2 serves, Now match on Fed1’s hand

skeezer Says:


Daniel Says:

Valiant effort by Fed. He will be underdog in all next matches: QF vs Thiem, semis vs Djoko (can’t see Cilic beating Djoko on clay) and than finals vs Nadal. But is a good road to gauge his game.

At leats if he can force 3 sets in next matches.

jatin Says:

Somehow, Someway, Fed saved 2 match points and played some EPIC clay tennis to win..
What a comeback. Loved the match.

skeezer Says:

Congrats Fed on joining the elite 1200 club.

FedExpress Says:

Wow. What a lion.

Giles Says:

No doubt he’s been having secret clay court practice! Lol

Tennis Fan Says:

Surprised Fed pulled through. More like Monfils choked.

skeezer Says:

^did you watch it? They both choked at times, they both played like giants at times. End of story.

chrisford1 Says:

Daniel – I hope it isn’t so, but I think Thiem is the end of the road for Federer in Madrid. I favor Thiem over Djokovic as well. I think he is in slightly better form than Novak at this point in time.

Daniel Says:

Agree CF1, Thiem is getting his clay groove going, and he was a 2 times Rup last 2 years. He likes Madrid also, clay plus favors his heavy power strokes. Fed just barely escaped. But Fed seems pretty confident this days so if he can not give Thiem much rhythm he may have a shot.

Djoko gets a walkover to semis, but Cilic wouldn’t beat him on clay anyway so, expected. Some greta line ups this friday tough. Zverev may have a mini redemption if he beats Tsisi, he needs a good win asap.

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