Nadal returns as if he had not left

Rafa Nadal celebrates his victory against Kecmanovic. / Reuters

Masters 1,000

The Spaniard beat Kecmanovic in straight sets in his debut at the Mutua Madrid Open and won again two months later

Rafa Nadal has had to wait almost two months to be able to savor a triumph again. The Balearic tennis player, who has had a rib injury in the dry dock in recent weeks, made his debut this Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, beating Miomir Kecmanovic, whom he defeated 6-1, 7-6 (4 ) in his 55th victory in the Spanish capital.

The man from Manacor, who is looking for his sixth title in Madrid, returned to a tennis court after the problem he suffered in the Indian Wells final, where his streak of 20 wins from the beginning of the season was cut short. A golden start that brought him three titles (Australia, Melbourne and Acapulco) and that, after the ellipsis of Monte Carlo and Barcelona, ​​has had its continuation in Madrid, where Kecmanovic succumbed to Nadal's debut on land.

For the first time in his career, Nadal started the clay tour in Madrid. He did it without much preparation in his legs, something that he noticed in the previous one, but with good feelings as soon as he began to chain blows. His first set was a typical whirlwind of his best moments. A fit of fury at the rage of not having been able to compete in the two previous tournaments, two of the most successful of his career. Madrid, due to the height, is a more complicated scenario and that is reflected in the fact that he has only won four times at the Caja Mágica (plus the Madrid Arena, when it was played on cement), but the adaptation was fantastic. Kecmanovic 6-1 in just over half an hour.

The Serbian player, who had just achieved the semi-finals in Munich the previous week, was not a piece of candy and his quality began to stand out after a downpour that cut into Nadal's rhythm. The rain forced the match to stop for half an hour, while the roof was closed, and when the tennis players returned to the court, Kecmanovic was transformed. He broke Nadal's serve and took an advantage that the Spaniard had to recover with tennis strokes and with much suffering. The man from Manacor was not comfortable indoors and Kecmanovic made him pay when Nadal, at 6-5, served to win the match.

The Serbian broke Nadal's serve and forced a tense 'tie break' in which the Spaniard added the last three points and sealed his first win in two months. His next rival will be the Belgian David Goffin, who on Wednesday beat the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2. This triumph leaves Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz one win each from a historic quarter-final showdown on Friday.

Marc Lopez retires

Doubles player Marc López's career ended this Wednesday on court 3 of the Caja Mágica, where the Catalan fell alongside Carlos Alcaraz, in the pairs duel against the Dutchman Wesley Koolhof and the British Neal Skupski. Marc López, who has combined the last rackets with his position in Nadal's coaching staff, closes his career at 39 years old and with an enviable record.

Marc López won a Grand Slam title at Roland Garros 2016 with Feliciano López, a Masters Cup in 2012 with Marcel Granollers and the jewel in the crown, Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro with Rafa Nadal. In total, he has won 14 doubles titles and became number three in the category in January 2013.

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