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Italian Open 2024: Ciao Rafa! End of the road for Rafael Nadal as he loses to Hubert Hurkacz in round 2

Italian Open 2024: Rafael Nadal’s hopes of a 11th trophy come crashing down as Hubert Hurkacz sends him packing
Italian Open 2024: Ciao Rafa! End of the road for Rafael Nadal as he loses to Hubert Hurkacz in round 2
Rafael Nadal crashes out in round 2

Last Updated: 07.55 PM, May 11, 2024


When Rafael Nadal is on centre court, no matter who the opponent, there’s a fair chance one would be rooting for him. He’s been enthralling fans with tennis par excellence for years, especially on his favourite clay court. Right now, though, he’s not in top form; he’s been out of action for the good part of last year and in recent times too, recovering from surgery after an injury.

This year, could, in all likelihood, be Nadal’s last season, so his appearance at the Italian Open, a tournament he has won a whopping 10 times, is something that fans were looking forward to. Two days ago, it took him nearly three hours to dispatch young Zizou Bergs, but on Saturday, the odds were stacked against him.

Hubert Hurkacz vs Rafael Nadal match statistics
Hubert Hurkacz vs Rafael Nadal match statistics

Playing 27-year-old Hubert Hurkacz, Rafa just could not find his rhythm in the first set, letting the former literally waltz away with it at 6-1. The Spaniard had lost the first set to Bergs too in the first round and then turned the match around in his favour. Could he do the magic one more time? Unfortunately for Nadal, that was not to be. Hurkacz was ruthless and made quick work of the match, breaking Nadal’s serve early on and then staying on course to close it out at 6-3, marking the end of the road for the later.

This was Hurkacz first match against Nadal and, in all likelihood, the latter’s last on this court. Speaking after the match, the Pole said he was very proud of his performance, especially since it was on a surface that Nadal has dominated for two decades. The first three games of the match took nearly half an hour, but after that, Hurkacz stepped on the gas. “Those three games were the longest I have ever played in my life. I think I found my serve and that definitely helped my confidence. After those long games I got into pretty good rhythm and thought I could go like this forever. The score looks the way it is but I knew that I had to be at the top of my game because if I dropped even a little bit then he would be right back there,” said Hurkacz, who now moves into round three of the tournament.

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