Nadal Begins Madrid Open Farewell Tour with Dominant Win

Rafael Nadal commenced his farewell journey at the Madrid Open with a commanding straight-set victory over American teenager Darwin Blanch. The five-time Madrid champion, who has hinted at retirement after the 2024 season, showcased his dominance by dispatching his 16-year-old opponent in just 63 minutes with a scoreline of 6-1, 6-0.

Nadal, aged 37, recently emphasized that his participation in the upcoming French Open hinges on his confidence in his ability to compete at the highest level. Following a triumphant return in Barcelona after a three-month injury hiatus, Nadal aims to gauge his form against Australian Alex de Minaur, who bested him in the Barcelona Open last week.

Reflecting on his Madrid victory, Nadal expressed gratitude for the unwavering support of fans, acknowledging the emotional significance of competing on familiar ground. “Playing here has always been a huge pleasure,” Nadal remarked, underscoring the indescribable backing from the crowd.

Despite the emotional resonance of his farewell tour, Nadal remains steadfast in his commitment to performance, balancing passion with focus on physical excellence. “I am a passionate person but I’m also a stable personality,” he noted, emphasizing his determination to push his physical limits while relishing each moment on the court.

In the women’s draw, world number one Iga Swiatek advanced to the third round with a decisive victory over China’s Wang Xiyu, while American third seed Coco Gauff delivered a dominant performance with a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Dutch player Arantxa Rus. Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari also secured her spot in the next round with a convincing win over Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

However, the tournament witnessed a notable upset as four-time major winner Naomi Osaka bowed out after a hard-fought battle against Russian 15th seed Liudmila Samsonova, culminating in a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 defeat.

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