Rafael Nadal: 'Argentinians Are Some Of The Best...'

‘Argentines are some of the best…’

Rafael Nadal kicked off his South American tour with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over his good friend Casper Ruud at Arena Parque Roca in Buenos Aires. Rafa and Casper met at the ATP Finals last week and had no time to rest and enjoy the holidays.

Two good friends boarded a plane and went to Buenos Aires for the first leg of their South American tour, setting up the second clash in Chile in two days. Nadal and Ruud met twice on the Tour this year, with Rafa winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the Roland Garros final and another 7-5, 7-5 at the ATP Finals.

The Spaniard overcame a slow start against the Norwegian in his first match in Buenos Aires since 2016 and dominated the second set to emerge with flying colors. Rafa served first and closed the first game of the match with a serve and volley combo.

Casper closed out the second game with an ace on the T line to add his name to the score. Ruud missed a routine volley at 30-30 in the third game and Nadal closed with an ace to make it 2-1. The Spaniard hit a backhand crossover winner in the fourth game and earned two break points.

Casper kept his cool, dodged them and closed out the match with a service winner. Rafa had two break points in the fifth game. He saved the first with a great winner and volleyed in the second to fall 3-2 down. Nadal hit a game-winning volley in the sixth game for 30-30 and fired a forehand cross for a break opportunity.

Ruud denied it with a beautiful winner, saved another and brought the game home with an unreturned serve to make it 4-2. The Spaniard clinched game seven with a powerful forehand cross and scored the first break point in game eight with a forehand cross.

Rafael Nadal is a former No.1

At the end of the first stage of his South American tour of exhibition matches in Argentina, Rafael Nadal, at the stadium microphone after his two matches in singles and doubles, paid a fine tribute to the Argentine public, which remains so h*ty faithful .

«It’s a unique feeling to play here. Maybe I wasn’t there as many times as I would have liked. But I will always carry in my heart that after 2005, when I played for the first time, my career really started to take off. Having the opportunity to play with Casper, who is a great player, number 3 in the world, a good friend and an excellent person, and also to play with Gisela and Gaby, two references in Argentine and Latin tennis for the last 20 years, a pleasure, some of the best fans, if not the best in the world, and they know the sport very well».

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