Inspired by Real Madrid’s heroics in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League, Rafael Nadal scripted a fightback of his own on Thursday.
After David Goffin saved two match points in the second set, Nadal erased four for his opponent to win 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(9), in three hours and nine minutes, at the Madrid Masters.
On Wednesday, Real Madrid had staged a great escape, scoring goals in the dying minutes to beat Manchester City 3-1 to sneak into the Champions League finals.
G L A D I A T O R 😍
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Tennis stars like Nadal and World No 1 Djokovic were in attendance at Real Madrid’s home turf, the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, to witness the stunning fightback.
“It was an unforgettable night. The spirit that the Real Madrid team has is just incredible,” Nadal said after his victory.
“For me today, in some ways it has been an inspiration in the way I have been fighting all my tennis career.”
Nadal saved two of Goffin’s four match points with drop shots, and a third when the Belgian netted a short forehand from an attacking position.
By winning the decider, the 35-year-old extended his perfect Madrid tie-break record to 10-0 since the event moved to clay in 2009.
Nadal had been sidelined with a rib injury for more than a month and the Madrid Masters is his first tournament back.
“Three hours and 10 [minutes] on court, that helps to increase my physical performance,” Nadal added.
“A very important victory, saving match points. That’s confidence, that gives me the chance to keep going. I need matches and I need a day like to day to be fitter sooner.”
He will take on teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3, in the quarterfinal.