(AP) – Rafael Nadal got through another young opponent and showed signs he was getting closer to his best form on clay as he defeated Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3 to make it to the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Thursday.
Rafa overcame eight aces and saved five break points against the Australian. The five-time Madrid champion cruised past Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the second round on Wednesday.
Rafa struggled at times against the aggressive style of the 76th-ranked Popyrin but was able to stay in control for most of the match on the Magic Box centre court.
After the match, Rafa said:
“It was difficult. The court today was slippery, very fast, very dry conditions. The ball was flying a lot, so beginning of the match was super tough. He was hitting every ball, and hitting the spots. So, very happy with the victory, an important victory. He came here playing well. Every match is tough.
“Yesterday he played against Sinner and he beat Jannik, so massive amount of respect. He has a big potential honestly. Later, I think I had – more or less – the match under control. If we can say like this, against a player like him. But I was comfortable on the score. I think I was doing things well, even if it was difficult to play against a player that was trying to hit every single ball. He was hitting every ball hard, so I needed to adapt and I think I did it well.”
The 20-time major winner will play either Alexander Zverev or Dan Evans in the quarter-finals.
Rafa’s match tomorrow will be vs. Zverev.
Adidas must not care too much for him these days as he has been wearing the same kit since Australia. He doesn’t get the nice new duds all the other Adidas athletes wear. Wonder if he will resort to buying his own as Bouchard did when Nike stopped supplying her or will he continue with that same outfit for the whole year?
In any case Vamos Rafa. 💪💪
A big congratulations to Naomi Osaka for winning the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.
“Laureus cited the “powerful statement” made by Osaka at the US Open, where in each round she came on to court wearing a face mask bearing the name of a different African-American victim of alleged police or racist violence.”
Rafa congratulations well don vamosssssss all the way 💪💪💪❤️👍👍👍💪😘
Rafa congratulations well don for the next much vamosssssss and good luck 💪💪💪❤️👍👍👍😘❤️
I knewkthatkukngonna pop the rim, very well played my champ, I still repeat, this is for u also, vavas to the mos
Hearty congratulations to Rafa for winning the Laureus world sportsman award. So very well deserved.
👏🥳🥰 Thanks for the good news Pauline.🙏
Congratulations to Rafa and Casper!!👏🤗
Congratulations Rafa on today’s win… Getting better and better with each match… Today are day of upsets happy you got it in straights
Sealed it in straights! Good job Rafa.
Very Well done !! “Great” like always Rafa, from The Canaries congrats for today´s Match, and good luck for tomorow, C. Javier
Congratulations Rafa!!😀, well done!👍🏻👏🏻💪🏻🙌🏻👌🏻, improving little by little and keep going. It is a pleasure and Honor to watch you playing even from abroad and to see you playing in OUR DEAR country, we know you love ‘THE MAGIC BOX’.
Siempre contigo!! , mañana a seguir, a por ellos!! VAMOSSSSSSSSS RAFA!! 🌪️🌀⚡🔥
Congrats Rafael Nadal on a dominant win-Popyrin lost a bit of his strut. All the best in the next round
against Z or E👍👏💪🤛🍀🎾❤️
Well done Rafa, so happy for you. Take rest and all the best for tomorrow. Vamos Rafa❤️