Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal opened his 2022 Italian Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over big-serving American John Isner in one hour and 15 minutes at the Foro Italico.
Isner’s resistance against the 21-time Grand Slam winner lasted until game eight, when Rafa broke the veteran world number 27 before serving out to take the first set. From there Rafa cruised to victory, dropping just 14 points on his way to setting up a third round clash with Denis Shapovalov.
Rafa is now also 19-0 against Americans on clay, being pushed as far as a deciding set just twice.
“The beginning of the match was not good for me and even he had some chances on the return to break. I was in his hands at that moment,” Rafa said in a post-match interview.
“Lucky that he missed those couple of shots. Then I was able to break and then the match changed.”
Our champ will face next Danis Shapovalov in the third round on Thursday. It will be a repeat of their clash in Rome last year, when the Canadian had match point before losing.
Source: AFP, Reuters