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Nadal in big trouble, but wins Madrid Masters

by TN

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Like I wrote yesterday, I thought Nadal would win the Madrid Masters final two sets to one. He ended up doing just that. Or well, not really since Nishikori had to retire 0-3 down in the deciding set.

It didn’t come as a complete shock that Nishikori had problems with injuries as is evident with his injury track record.

Hip and Abdominal Pain 8/2014 10/2014
Side 9/2013 11/2013
Left knee 1/2013 2/2013
Right ankle 44/2012 52/2012
Abdominal 17/2012 26/2012
Lower Back 35/2011 37/2011
Kiny Colic 19/2011 20/2011
Illness (doubles) 39/2010 44/2010
Groin 35/2010 44/2010
Hip 24/2010 29/2010
Arm 2/2009 6/2009
Abdominal 25/2008 35/2008
Unknown 23/2008 24/2008
Unknown 9/2008 11/2008

And it’s not the first time he’s retired from a match either:

19/2014 ATP Madrid (ESP) Clay Rafael Nadal Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-4 3-0 ret. Final
12/2014 ATP Miami (USA) Hard Novak Djokovic Kei Nishikori 0-0 ret. 1/2
8/2014 ATP Delray Beach (USA) Hard Teimuraz Gabashvili Kei Nishikori 4-2 ret. Second
9/2013 ATP Delray Beach (USA) Hard Ivo Karlovic Kei Nishikori 5-4 ret. First
1/2013 ATP Brisbane (AUS) Hard Andy Murray Kei Nishikori 6-4 2-0 ret. 1/2
44/2012 ATP Paris (FRA) I_Hard Gilles Simon Kei Nishikori w/o Third
17/2012 ATP Barcelona (ESP) Clay Fernando Verdasco Kei Nishikori 4-2 ret. 1/4
35/2011 ATP U.S. Open (USA) Hard Flavio Cipolla Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-2 ret. First
35/2010 ATP U.S. Open (USA) Hard Albert Montanes Kei Nishikori 6-2 2-1 ret. Third
24/2010 ATP Eastbourne (GBR) Grass Andrey Kuznetsov Kei Nishikori 6-4 3-1 ret. First
2/2009 ATP Auckland (NZL) Hard Juan Carlos Ferrero Kei Nishikori 5-3 ret. First
26/2008 ATP Wimbledon (GBR) Grass Marc Gicquel Kei Nishikori 4-6 7-5 ret. First
25/2008 ATP Nottingham (GBR) Grass Thomas Johansson Kei Nishikori 7-5 ret. First
23/2008 CH Surbiton (GBR) Grass Stephane Bohli Kei Nishikori 5-1 ret. First
9/2008 ATP Memphis (USA) I_Hard Bobby Reynolds Kei Nishikori 6-2 3-0 ret. Qualifying
3/2008 CH Miami (USA) Clay Adrian Menendez-Maceiras Kei Nishikori w/o 1/2
6/2007 CH Dallas (USA) I_Hard Michael Ryderstedt Kei Nishikori 6-0 5-7 2-0 ret. q-Second
11/2006 CH Mexico F4 (MEX) Hard Miguel Gallardo-Valles Kei Nishikori 7-6(4) ret. 1/2

And to add to that he had had treatment on his back in previous matches and did go the distance in his semi-final win against Ferrer. So that he had to retire against the world’s most physically demanding opponent is not a shock or even a huge surprise…but the way he played before that was.

You see, Nishikori was up a set and a break after a blistering first set which he won 6-2 and an immediate break in the second set. He was up 4-2 in the 2nd before his back started to play havoc on his shots. Nadal broke back at 3-4 and in the end won the set 6-4 with Nishikori hardly being able to move in the end. The last three games was painful to watch and in the end Nishikori resigned and congratulated Nadal on the win.

But I can’t rule out that Nishikori would probably have won if he had remained healthy as well as he was playing. On the other hand Nadal wasn’t his usual self and we even saw him hit the racket at times – which is as close to smashing a racket as he’ll probably get. Maybe it was due to Nishikori’s brilliant play, maybe he was just off his game, but he was very close to losing the match.

In the end we lift our hats to both players, Nadal for always staying in the match and fighting like an animal and Nishikori for his brilliant talent and for 2014 being his breakthrough year where he’s so far only lost five matches.

Let’s go to Rome!

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