The number one in the world, Novak Djokovic, advanced this Thursday to the quarterfinals of the Madrid tournament, which Rafael Nadal also agreed to after suffering to beat the Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (11/ 9).
Nadal, number four in the world, had to go to the tie-break of the third set to beat Goffin in 3 hours and 9 minutes in a match that seemed to be under control.
"It was an incredible end of the game, which we never had to reach"Nadal said.
The man from Manaco continues with his great return to competition after his forced break due to a crack in his ribs, which made him absent from Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
"Whatever happens tomorrow, having won two games here for me is fantastic news, but I’m not giving anything up and I’m going to give myself my options."Nadal added.
Encouraged by the public that filled the central court of the Caja Mágica, Nadal seemed to be heading towards a placid victory in two sets, but the match was complicated.
The man from Manaco had two match points, the first at 5-3 with Goffin serving and the other at 5-4 with his own serve, but he did not take advantage of either one and ended up having to go to the tiebreaker in the third set.
The man from Manaco suffered with his rival’s serve, which grew with the passing of the minutes and also missed four match points.
Nadal ended up imposing his experience and mental solidity to win 11-9 in the final tie-break and dream of a duel in the quarterfinals against Carlos Alcaraz, who will face Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Thursday.
Djokovic progressed without having to play his round of 16 match against Britain’s Andy Murray, who was unable to appear.
"Unfortunately, Andy Murray, ill, is not fit" to play, the organizers of the Madrid Masters 1000 wrote on Thursday morning.
Thus, ‘Nole’, three-time winner of the Masters 1000 in Madrid, will face Pole Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals, winner this Thursday of Serbian Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-3.
Andrey Rublev is also in the quarterfinals after beating Britain’s Daniel Evans 7-6 (9/7), 7-5.
Rublev, number eight in the world, spent 2 hours and 28 minutes to prevail in a match, which started badly for him with a break of his serve, which Evans confirmed with his serve to make it 2-0.
Behind on the scoreboard, Rublev settled down and began to press until he returned the break to his rival in the sixth to make it 3-3 and end up taking the set to the tie-break where the Russian won 9-7.
The two contenders ran evenly in the second set until the eleventh game, when Rublev managed to break his rival’s serve to go up 6-5 and close the set with his serve.
Rublev, who defeated Djokovic in the final of the Belgrade Tournament, will face Greek Stephanos Tsitsipas, fourth seed, who beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4 in the quarters.
Zverev continues to defend his crown
The German Alexander Zverev, second favorite and current champion of the tournament, also advanced to the next round after the withdrawal of the Italian Lorenzo Musetti, with thigh problems, when the German was leading 6-3, 1-0.
Zverev will face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals, who beat Italian Jannik Sinner 6-1, 6-2.
In the women’s draw, the Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the last survivor of the Top-10 in Madrid, became the first finalist of the tournament by beating the Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3.
Jabeur, who has just one win at the Birmingham tournament, needed just an hour to get past his rival, who had reached the semi-finals from the qualifying round.
The Tunisian, the only survivor of the top-10 in Madrid, will face the winner of the duel between the American Jessica Pegula and the Swiss Jil Teichmann for the title on Saturday.