Nadal Thrashes 16-Year-Old Blanch Without Any Issues In Madrid Return

Nadal Thrashes 16-Year-Old Blanch Without Any Issues In Madrid Return

by Zachary Wimer

Rafael Nadal made a comeback at the Madrid Open, and he shined brightly, beating 16-year-old Darwin Blanch in two sets.

This match was supposed to be relatively painless for Nadal due to who his opponent was. Blanch is a 16-year-old super-talented player who has tremendous potential and likely a bright future ahead of him, but on clay against Nadal right now, it was never going to work out for him.

He's not as familiar with the surface as expected from an American player, and he certainly isn't anywhere close to challenging Nadal right now. There are a lot of open questions about the legend and his current status, but even if he's self-admittedly not 100%, he's still good enough to cruise in matches like this.

He took an early break in this first-round match at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid, which wasn't a huge surprise, and kept applying pressure on Blanch, who was trying to find his way.

The first set ended 6-1 in favor of Nadal, who was dominating the rallies. As soon as a rally developed and Nadal got his forehand into it, it was over, even though the teenager sometimes managed to fire a powerful serve that caught his opponent off-guard.

Blanch tried his best on his own serve because he does have a massive serve, but it didn't really work out for him. Nadal kept the ball in play long enough to ultimately win points.

The second set didn't offer anything different as he was able to once more outplay the teenager comfortably. The final score was 6-1, 6-0 for Nadal, who did make a good start, but this match doesn't tell a lot about his real level.

It's good to see him playing and competing, but ultimately, we don't know how he feels. Up next is Alex de Minaur, who bested the Spaniard last week in Barcelona, and will prove to be a much better test for him.


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