The surprise has flown over the central Rafael Nadal of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in the debut of the 11-time champion of the tournament who has had to overcome a match that began losing, before beating Belarusian Ilia Ivasha (111 world) by 3-6, 6-2 and 6-4, after 2 hours and 20 minutes of struggle and suffering.
“As I said there are always days of doubts and The important thing was to save this game, in any way, tomorrow will be another day“, has assessed at the foot of the track Àlex Corretja, on TVE, just after finishing the game, admitting that he had played worse than he had been training since his arrival in Barcelona.
It has not started well Nadal. In the first game he gave up his serve and failed to win his first game until 20 minutes into the game. None of the nearly 1,000 spectators who attended the debut of the 11-time tournament champion could expect such a start.
Nadal he was not comfortable. His blows escaped away from the lines against an opponent who, with nothing to lose, had entered the center, ready to hit the yellow ball with all his strength with a flat game, which with a slow, wet and heavy track, the worst conditions for the world number 3, Ivasha could use more easily.
Thus the Belarusian tennis player, who came from the previous phase, has not missed the opportunity to snatch the set from Nadal, breaking his serve twice.
11 sets lost in 65 matches
It is not usual to see the Mallorcan tennis player in this situation of losing a set, although last year it also happened when he lost it in his first game against the Argentine. Leo Mayer (6-7, 6-4 and 6-2). In Barcelona he had only lost 10 sets in 65 matches.
Much less than a player outside the ‘top 100’ has won a game since 2004 than Olivier Mutis (113) beat him in Palermo. Nor that ever a tennis player from the previous one, of the 38 who have crossed his path, has been able to beat him in his entire career.
Nadal, without playing too well either, he has managed to compose himself, he has recomposed himself to sign up the second round, giving up only two games. It was not easy to certify the third set, in which Ivasha has kept the pulse until 3-3.
The world number 3 has managed to make the ‘break’ in the next game although Ivasha he has maintained the fight until the last point before yielding the victory to a Nadal who has left the track without putting an end to those “doubts” with which he arrived after being eliminated from Monte Carlo.
He has had no doubt in his debut Stefanos Tsitsipas that in 78 minutes and giving only two games has been imposed on Jaume munar. If the Mallorcan, friend of Nadal and a resident of his Manacor academy, he hoped to stand up to the Greek tennis player, as he had done last year at Roland Garros, where he forced him to five sets, in the first round, Tsitsipas soon made him forget it with a victory overwhelming.
The last Monte Carlo champion has not given a choice and, only at the beginning of the second set, which has dropped two gears at his own pace, Munar has managed to snatch a couple of games from him.