Nadal Beaten In First Round Of Roland Garros For First Time In His Career

Nadal Beaten In First Round Of Roland Garros For First Time In His Career

by Erik Virostko

For the first time in his incredibly successful tennis career, Rafael Nadal lost already in the first round of the Roland Garros.

There has never been a person more successful on the clay courts in the French capital than the Spaniard. He won the tournament 14 times, having an incredible record of 112 matches won and only three lost.

In 2024, he added his fourth loss, and this time, the earliest ever, as the brutal draw for him showed why it was so brutal. The 22-time major winner played against Alexander Zverev, who won the Italian Open only recently.

Because of that win, but also because of the German's previous success at Roland Garros and his clay-court qualities, it wasn't that surprising that Nadal was a big underdog. In fact, he was the least favoured to win out of any of the matches he played on the Parisian clay.

Unfortunately for him and his fans, his opponent very quickly showed why. Zverev started the match by breaking his opponent's serve, and behind a very solid serving set, he was able to keep that one-break advantage, winning the opening set 6-3.

However, the second set showed why thousands of fans came to the Court Philippe-Chatrier, hoping for some kind of magic from the legend of the only clay-court Grand Slam on the calendar.

That magic came in the middle of the set. First, the 37-year-old saved two break points, just to create one break point opportunity himself in the following game and use it convincingly to lead 3-2 in the second set.

The Spaniard kept the advantage almost long enough to win the second set, but just not enough. The fourth seed broke him when he was serving for the set, and even though Nadal had two break points in the following game, he couldn't use either of those and there was no other resolution to the second set than a tie-break.

With Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Iga Swiatek all watching from the stands, the 14-time champion erased a one-mini-break deficit twice, but it was just not enough. Zverev got another mini-break, and that was enough to win the tie-break of the second set 7-5.

The third set started really well for the player, who will likely retire after the 2024 ATP season. He saved to break points in the opening game and broke in the following game to lead 2-0.

However, a mix of a bit weaker serving and unused opportunities meant that Zverev did not only recover the lost break, but also added two more breaks to end Nadal's journey at the 2024 Roland Garros already in the opening round, winning 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3.


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