The World No.3 Rafael Nadal made a winning start in his favorite French Open as he defeated Australia’s Alexei Popyrin by 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 in the opening round of the tournament. Nadal was able to dominate the first two sets but Popyrin made him work hard in the third set.
Nadal was able to get the break in the eighth game of the opening set and then broke Popyrin’s serve twice in the second set. However, the 21-year old youngster came up with a much better performance in the third set as he was able to break Nadal’s serve for the first time in the match.
In fact, Popyrin was serving for the set at 5-3 and also had two set points but could not convert the same due to terrible errors. However, Popyrin impressed with his first serve and Nadal believes the youngster has everything to become a top player and go a long way in his career.
Popyrin has shown the right skills and he is definitely a player to watch out for. The lanky Australian has a solid serve and he can also fire the backhand.
“We are playing the best-of-five matches. The other player needs to win two more sets to beat you, and I know I’m going to be there fighting for every single point. Of course, I don’t want to lose the set at all, but that’s part of the game”.
“You face a player that has decided to go for every shot, so you are in trouble. If he’s having success as Alexei did with his serve, it’s difficult to have breaks, and you are in a tricky position. With his serve and baseline strokes, Popyrin has everything to become a top player”.
“If he wants to do it, he will have his chances because he has many challenging elements in his game. Let’s see what will happen in the following years. It was a tough match because Popyrin plays aggressive tennis, throwing many balls at me on the fast court”
“I was lucky to win the third set, and the truth is that I don’t even know how I did that. I’m happy to make a winning start in Paris,” Rafael Nadal said.
Nadal will face France’s Richard Gasquet in the second round of Roland Garros.