Casper Ruud beat Rafa Nadal (6-4, 6-4) for the first time this Sunday in an exhibition match in Quito where both athletes strove to please the Ecuadorian public.
Before some 12,000 spectators who practically filled the Rumiñahui Coliseum, from Quito, Nadal and Ruud offered a show worthy of the current number two and three in the world, respectivelyin the ATP ranking.
While this victory will not count Ruud within the official records, The Norwegian can already say that he has been able to prevail over the Mallorcan tennis player before an audience delivered to see his rival, the only winner in the history of tennis of 22 ‘Grand Slam’ titles.
In official matches, Nadal remains undefeated against Ruud after winning the 2022 Roland Garros final and, recently, in the ATP Masters Cup, held in Turin (Italy).
The Nordic seemed to adapt better to the conditions of the ultra-fast track that had been prepared for the occasionwith a synthetic terrain that became even faster and more electric with the altitude of the Ecuadorian capital, located at 2,800 meters above sea level.
Under these conditions, Ruud knew how to take advantage of his powerful serves and won many points with his forehand by taking Rafa to the bottom and to the limits of the court.
Meanwhile, the tennis player from Manacor sought to shorten the court and go up to the net very frequently, which gave good results and Ruud rarely knew how to hurt him in the short distance.
However, the height made him miss several winners that he normally does not miss, and here they went off the track, something unusual for him.
“It has been difficult to play in the heightbut I promise to come back to improve,” said Nadal at the end of the match.
“It has been an unforgettable experience. I was able to see the center of Quito this morning and the reception has been spectacular. It’s an awesome city,” she added.
There were also pleasant moments, when Nadal took a child out of the audience to play a point against Ruud and the constant inattention of the ball boys that the Spanish took with philosophy and humor.
The Norwegian took the two sets by breaking serve in each of them and not losing his at any timewhich made him a champion of the KIA Quito Bicentennial Cup.
This match is part of Nadal’s exhibition tour of Latin America that has already taken him to Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Belo Horizonte (Brazil) in previous days, while after Quito he will head to Bogotá and Mexico City.
In Buenos Aires and Belo Horizonte he also faced Ruud, whom he beat on both occasions and who will be measured again in Bogotá and Mexico City, while in Santiago de Chile the athlete from Manacor beat the Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.