Nadal withstands Opelka serve in 500th match on clay, reaches Rome final
Rafael Nadal defeated Reilly Opelka in their first ever meeting to reach the Italian Open final for a 12th time.
Rafael Nadal won out over the big-serving American in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, to compete for a 10th Italian Open title.
“Well, I think I did the things that I had to do today. Of course it’s not an easy and it’s not a beautiful match to play against a player where [you can’t really] get a [good] rhythm.
“You’re just gonna have a few options on your return and then you know that he can play very aggressive. From the baseline he has good shots. And that’s what happened from the beginning of the match.”
“He had some options on the break and it was super important for me to save those moments.”
Nadal’s match against Opelka was Rafa’s 500th career ATP match on clay. He now holds a 458-42 (91.6%) win-loss record on the surface.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 15, 2021
The win for Nadal also means that at least one of Nadal or Djokovic has featured in the Italian Open final every year since Nadal won his first Rome title in 2005.
(Photo credit Ray Giubilo)
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