Rafael Nadal Equals Roger Federer in a Unique Record After Beating Alexander Zverev at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/14/2021, 4:30 PM EDT
SHANGHAI, CHINA – OCTOBER 15: Roger Federer of Switzerland with Rafael Nadal of Spain pose with their trophies after the Men’s singles final mach on day eight of 2017 ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters at Qizhong Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)


Twenty-time major champion and world number two Rafael Nadal is having a great run at the ongoing Italian Open. After an unexpected loss to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open quarter-finals, the Spaniard avenged his defeat in Rome.

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It was a clean kill for Nadal as he dismantled the German in straight sets 6-3,6-4.

With this victory, Nadal reached his 75th Masters 1000 semi-final in his long career. The Spaniard managed to win 35 Masters titles, falling just behind Djokovic who won 36 titles.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his round of 32 match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
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Rafael Nadal ties Roger Federer in a unique record at the ATP tour

On account his quarter-final victory against Zverev in Rome, the Spaniard became the second player after Roger Federer to reach at least one semi-final at Masters 1000 tournaments for 17 years (2005-2021) and counting. This also proves that the Spaniard was able to reach the penultimate stage of a tournament every year since his grand debut in 2005.

Known for his consistent performances on the big stage, Nadal missed the opportunity to reach the semis at Monte-Carlo and Madrid Masters. The Spaniard was outlasted by young players like Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev.

Despite these defeats, Nadal won the Barcelona Open for a record twelfth time in his career by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a three-set battle. With Novak Djokovic struggling to find peak form at the ongoing Italian Open, the Spaniard has a clear advantage of winning a tenth Rome title.

Reilly Opelka poses a tough challenge to Nadal in Italian Open semis

In the semi-finals at the Italian Open, Rafael Nadal will play against the American Reilly Opelka. The duo will be meeting for the first time on the ATP tour. The tall-American’s huge serves will be a cause of concern for Nadal.

Opelka played beyond expectations in Rome so far. He managed to defeat the likes of Richard Gasquet, Lorenzo Musetti, and the in-form Russian Aslan Karatsev to reach the semis.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates during his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

However, facing Rafael Nadal on the red dirt is an unsurmountable challenge and it will be interesting to see Opelka’s tactics in what will be one of the biggest matches of his career.

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While the conditions at Rome are different to that of Madrid, Nadal will have more chances of returning the American’s serve. It will be a packed day tomorrow at the Italian Open as a couple of quarter-final matches scheduled today got suspended due to heavy rain.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

215 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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