Nadal Triumphs In Epic Three-Hour Clash, Advances To Madrid Fourth Round

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Rafael Nadal showcased his ongoing return from injury at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday, enduring a grueling battle against Pedro Cachin with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory, marking his first tour-level fourth-round appearance since 2022.

The five-time Madrid champion demonstrated glimpses of his vintage brilliance against Cachin, captivating the crowd with his trademark inside-out forehand and agile court movement on Manolo Santana Stadium.

Despite the spirited challenge from Cachin, who clinched his lone tour-level clay title in Gstaad last year, Nadal exhibited resilience in the decisive third set, unleashing added power and precision from his forehand wing, ultimately securing the hard-fought win after an epic three-hour battle.

Participating in his third tournament this year, Nadal rebounded from a second-round exit in Barcelona last week, showcasing his dominance on clay against opponents outside the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings with an impressive record of 162-1 since 2005, the solitary loss being against Horacio Zeballos in Vina del Mar.

Cachin, amidst a string of 15 consecutive tour-level losses, displayed commendable determination against the former World No. 1, testing Nadal’s resolve throughout the match.

With eyes set on extending his stellar record in Madrid, where he boasts a 59-14 win-loss tally, Nadal aims for his 10th consecutive quarter-final appearance in the Spanish capital as he prepares to face Jiri Lehecka.

The match against Cachin witnessed Nadal’s initial dominance, highlighted by a barrage of winners and assertive shot-making, followed by a remarkable comeback in the second set, where he saved set points to force a tiebreaker.

As the contest entered the decisive phase, Nadal’s trademark forehand prowess and relentless defensive play wore down Cachin, ultimately sealing the victory amidst a roar of triumph.

Meanwhile, Czech talent Lehecka progressed to the fourth round with a hard-fought win over Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, setting the stage for a potential clash with Nadal, marking their first-ever encounter on the ATP circuit.