While many might have expected former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to defeat rising tennis star Alexander Zverev, they may not have expected Nadal to have to fight off a match point to do so. But Nadal did, and that victory puts him into the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals. After escaping a tight third set situation, Nadal finished out by winning 15 of the final 16 points, taking the match 6-7 (10/8), 6-0, 7-5.
Nadal’s post-match remarks (from the tournament’s website):
“I’m very happy for the victory, obviously. I was fighting during the whole match. It’s obvious that I played against a great player, a player who was serving unbelievable, at the beginning especially.
“I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the fighting spirit during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations. I’m sorry for him. But I think at the same time, I deserve a victory like this after a couple of losses with big chances to win, too.”
Zverev’s post-match remark? “On match point I sucked.” Don’t doubt for a second that the 18-year-old German won’t be back next year; he is developing a very strong all-around game and time is definitely on his side.
So is this the beginning of a return to glory for the legend who has battled consistency? Next up for the Spaniard: Japan’s Kei Nishikori. The winner will likely face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.