Nadal Beats Rune In Practice Match As Roland Garros D-Day Approaches

Nadal Beats Rune In Practice Match As Roland Garros D-Day Approaches

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal will head into Monday's highly anticipated Roland Garros showdown against Alexander Zverev in fine spirits after defeating another high-caliber opponent in practice.

Nadal arrived in Paris at the start of the week and did not waste time before hitting the practice courts, rekindling excitement among his fans. For the first time in two years, the Spaniard jumping up and down on his hallowed court was a sight worth reminiscing.

The crowd warmed up to him and loudly welcomed him back. Nadal engaged in intensive practice sessions against the likes of Sebastian Korda and then World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, winning practice sets against both of them.

He was scheduled to take to the court against Alexander Zverev on Friday, but their joint practice was canceled upon the release of the draw 24 hours earlier. Nadal and Zverev were pitted against each other in the standout opening match at this year's clay-court Grand Slam.

Because the 14-time champion entered the tournament with a protected ranking, he was a possible draw for any of the Top 32 seeds. Unfortunately for him, he drew the most in-form man coming to Paris.

Zverev won the last ATP 1000 tournament before Roland Garros, which was in Rome. With doubts about the health of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic's inconsistent start to 2024, the German is considered one of the main favorites for the title.

But playing Nadal right out of the gate is not what he would have wanted. And more so, with the 37-year-old legend restoring his confidence and fitness by defeating Holger Rune in practice with the reported score of 7-5, 2-0.

Obviously, practice sets don't necessarily have greater weight in dictating the outcomes of actual matches, but Medvedev was upbeat about Nadal's high level, which might mean Monday's match is far from a foregone conclusion for Zverev.


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