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Nadal battles into fourth round in Madrid; faces Lehecka next

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Madrid, April 30 (IANS) Five-time champion Rafael Nadal continued his comeback from injury at the Madrid Open when he progressed to the fourth round in the Caja Magica.

Madrid, April 30 (IANS) Five-time champion Rafael Nadal continued his comeback from injury at the Madrid Open when he progressed to the fourth round in the Caja Magica.

The Spaniard battled past Pedro Cachin 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 to reach the fourth round at a tour-level event for the first time since 2022.

Nadal found himself ensnared in a battle of wits with Argentina’s Cachin. After waltzing his way through the first set, the Mallorcan was forced to endure a marathon that surpassed the three-hour mark. However, whenever his game abandoned him the Spaniard refused to back down.

After dropping the second set, Nadal found extra whip and power off the forehand wing in the decider, while he looked physically strong to secure a hard-fought victory after three hours and four minutes.

The 37-year-old is competing in his third tournament of the year, having lost in the second round in Barcelona last week. With his victory against World No. 91 Cachin, Nadal improved his clay-court record against players outside the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings to 162-1 since 2005. His only defeat in that 19-year period came against No. 73 Horacio Zeballos in Vina del Mar, according to ATP stats.

Nadal’s gaze will immediately shift to his next challenge. With barely a day to recover, in the last sixteen at the Caja Magica on Tuesday the Spaniard will meet Czech player Jiri Lehecka.

Nadal holds a 59-14 tournament record in Madrid and will aim to reach his 10th consecutive quarterfinal in the Spanish capital when he plays Lehecka.

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