Rafael Nadal eliminated Khachanov in four sets and went to the round of 16 at the Australian Open: “A month ago I would not have dreamed of this situation”

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An overwhelming performance deposited Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 of the Australian Open, despite the fact that he also gave up his first set in the tournament. The Spanish tennis player 35 years was imposed by 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 to russian Karen Khachanov (30th) and showed his joy at recovering his best version. “It is surely my best game in the tournament”, he congratulated Rafa at the end of the match.

He had already impressed in the first round by eliminating the American Marcos Giron (66th), in what was his return to a Grand Slam after a month recovering from COVID-19 and a severe foot injury, as well as his victory against the German Yannick Hanfmann (126th) in the second round, but Nadal believes he got his ticket to the round of 16 playing at the highest level.

The Balearic tennis player he played his best tennis so far in the competition in a first set in which he blew his serve, he gave up just one point throughout the set and delivered his classic repertoire of down-the-line forehands at breakneck speed that brought the court crowd to their feet Rod Laver Arena.

Rafael Nadal qualified for the round of 16 of the Australian Open after beating Karen Khachanov (Photo: REUTERS)
Rafael Nadal qualified for the round of 16 of the Australian Open after beating Karen Khachanov (Photo: REUTERS)

His level in the second set dropped, where he racked up more unforced errors and lowered his serving percentage, but managed to win it to stretch his lead in the match. But nevertheless, Khachanov took advantage of the fatigue Nadal to discount and won some unlikely points in the first leg of a final set. That woke up the beast: Rafa he finished the match with a blunt 6-1.

“This is a very special week for me. Coming from where I come from, that makes things very special”, Indian Nadal after the game that lasted two hours and 49 minutes. In the round of 16, the Mallorcan will face the Russian Aslan Karatsev (15th), or French Adrian Mannarino (69º).

“Go through very hard moments in the last year and a half But nights like these are everything to me they fill me with energy to keep fighting every day and all the effort we put in with my team and my family to get back to where I was starting to make sense. I am very happy, thank you all for making it so special”, concluded the Spaniard.

Regarding the process you have gone through to overcome your chronic scaphoid problem and return to your best level, Rafa Nadal he took it very cautiously:A month and a half ago I would not have dreamed of being in this situation, but beyond being in the second week, because of the general feeling. I will try to be 100% recovered for the next game and if possible, do it a little better, but I think today’s level was high and if we keep it up, we’ll see what can happen.”

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