Nadal Reportedly Defeats Cerundolo In Straight Sets In Practice Match At Italian Open

Nadal Reportedly Defeats Cerundolo In Straight Sets In Practice Match At Italian Open

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal warmed up for this year's Italian Open main draw by beating a Top 30 player in a practice match.

Nadal was back in one of his favorite cities, gunning to win a record-extending 11th title. However, concerns about his involvement at the tournament arose after he was spotted wearing a leg compression after training.

Main draw action at the Foro Italico on the ATP tour begins on May 8th. Nadal, who joins the 96-player singles field with a projected ranking, will play a qualifier in his first match. Should he win, he will face World No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz in the second round.

But before he played his first official match in Rome since 2022, he stepped on the practice courts on Tuesday to play against World No. 22 Francisco Cerundolo in front of hundreds of excited tennis fans.

The match was played on the outside show court rather than the Court Centrale, where he completed his first practice session at the tournament. And Nadal was laser-focused and brought the intensity to the court against Argentina's No. 2 player.

Snippets of the points from the practice match were shared by a fan (@edocrisx) in attendance on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). Nadal reportedly won the match 6-3, 7-6(5), and is said to be hitting the ball "with more confidence".

While practice results don't necessarily mean too much in the grand scheme of things, Nadal's improvement from his first match at this year's clay-court swing is noticeable, especially in wins over Alex de Minaur and Pedro Cachin in Madrid.

Although he hasn't ruled out playing beyond 2024, Nadal confirmed that he played his last match at the Madrid Open this past week, where he lost to Czech rising star Jiri Lehecka in the round of 16. He is set to make a decision on whether he will play at Roland Garros after the Italian Open.


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