Rafael Nadal is already in the round of 16 of the Masters 1,000 in Rome after beating John Isner by 6-3 and 6-1 in one hour and 16 minutes. The tennis player from Manacor began the duel with doubts but when he warmed up he was a steamroller that did not give the American giant an option, which this time he couldn’t take advantage of his fearsome serve – he barely managed an ‘ace’ in the entire duel and only won 50 per cent of the points with his first serve –.
The game settled in the middle of the first set, when Isner wasted two breaks with two unforced errors to end up giving up his serve in the next game. From there, everything was much easier for Nadal, who offered a great image in the second sleeve.
Isner vein to achieve up to 13 aces in his debut in Rome against Francisco Cerundolo but Rafa has much more experience than the Argentine when it comes to counteracting the American’s best weapon, who will rarely have finished a game with just an ‘ace’.
The Spaniard was always very far from the bottom line and ended up driving Isner to despair, who is neither cut out -he measures 2.08- nor prepared for long rallies. In addition Nadal was raising his benefits as the game progressedaware that the American’s options were to take advantage of some of his few break balls.
After the scare of the seventh game, everything was much simpler. It is more, Nadal managed to string together good shotssomething that is always difficult against a player with Isner’s characteristics.
It was Rafa’s eighth victory against Isner in nine duels, although the two have not seen each other since 2017. Nadal’s next rival in the round of 16 will be the irascible Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian is a rival of care but it is precisely what Nadal needs to get to Paris as smoothly as possible.