Nadal overwhelms 16-year-old Blanch in Madrid masterclass

Daily News
9 Min Read
Nadal overwhelms 16-year-old Blanch in Madrid masterclass

Rafael Nadal dominated promising 16-year-old wild card Darwin Blanch to claim a masterful 6-1 6-0 victory in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday.

Lefty Blanch was making just his second ATP Masters 1000 appearance in the space of five weeks after his tour-level debut on home soil in Miami.

But his 37-year-old idol Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and a record five-time winner in Madrid, was in no mood for handing out gifts as he wrapped up victory in just 63 minutes.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch American wild card Blanch fire down back-to-back aces against his idol Nadal

Home is where the heart is for Rafa

Rafael Nadal has registered his 57th win at the Madrid Masters, 20 more than the next best; it is the only tournament at which he has registered at least one win across 19 seasons in his career

Nadal’s power and prowess was too much for Blanch, who committed 27 unforced errors, including 20 off his forehand as the former world No 1 won 59 per cent of his return points and did not face a break point on his own serve.

He broke the American at the first opportunity in the second game before grabbing the first set in just 28 minutes.

The Spaniard, who last claimed the title on Madrid’s clay in 2017, broke again to take the lead in the second set and kept up the pace, giving a tennis masterclass to young Blanch.

“I think today I played against an opponent with a great future in front [of him], but today, still making mistakes. I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks,” Nadal said. “It worked well. I’m happy to be through and I wish him all the very best for the future.”

Nadal has said on several occasions this is set to be his final season on tour, but so far it has not panned out the way the Spaniard would have hoped.

He will play world No 11 De Minaur in the second round on Saturday.

The Australian defeated Nadal 7-5 6-1 in the second round of the Barcelona Open last week when the Spaniard was playing his first tournament since January.

Master vs Apprentice

16-year-old American Darwin Blanch taking on 37-year-old Rafa Nadal in Madrid is the biggest age gap in a singles match in Masters 1000 history

The age gap between the pair was 21 years and 117 days

‘Emotional feelings’ on Madrid return

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Nadal says he is enjoying being back at the Madrid Open for his 20th appearance following his win against Darwin Blanch

“Great feelings. Emotional feelings,” said Rafael Nadal, speaking to Sky Sports Tennis. “Playing here has always been a huge pleasure – the support is difficult to describe in words.

“I enjoyed the fact that I could go out there one more time – and the victory too.

“I’m just trying to stay focussed on where I need to be and see how far I can go in terms of pushing my physical performance.

And on playing De Minaur next, he added: “To play against Alex, I need to keep improving things.

“Last week I was able to play a very competitive set but in the second I had to give up. Let’s see in two days how far I can go and I’ll just try to enjoy again.”

Twitter This content is provided by Twitter, which may be using cookies and other technologies. To show you this content, we need your permission to use cookies. You can use the buttons below to amend your preferences to enable Twitter cookies or to allow those cookies just once. You can change your settings at any time via the Privacy Options. Unfortunately we have been unable to verify if you have consented to Twitter cookies. To view this content you can use the button below to allow Twitter cookies for this session only.

Tale of the Tape

Darwin Blanch vs Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open

Darwin Blanch vs Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open

What’s coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

In the run-up to the second Grand Slam of 2024 – the French Open at Roland Garros from May 26 – you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the clay-court season.

  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (ATP and WTA Masters 1000) – May 7-19
  • Geneva Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Lyon Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Internationaux de Strasbourg (WTA 500 with Emma Raducanu in action) – May 20-26
  • Morocco Open (WTA 250) – May 20-26

How to watch play on Sky Sports Tennis

The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day

Image: The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day

Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis on Sky and NOW, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.

Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.

For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.

Ad content | Stream Sky Sports on NOW

NOW PROMO APRIL 2024

Stream Sky Sports live with no contract on a Month or Day membership on NOW. Instant access to live action from the Premier League, EFL, F1, England Cricket, Tennis and so much more.

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here

Watch the WTA and ATP Tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports Tennis. Stream Sky Sports Tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership. No contract, cancel anytime.

Share This Article
Leave a comment