Rafael Nadal survived a thriller against David Goffin to reach the last eight in Madrid
The 35-year-old was on course for a routine win at the Caja Magica but failed to convert two match points as Goffin forced a decider. In a thrilling third set that required a tie-break, Nadal had to save four match points before getting across the finish line at the third time of asking to reach the quarterfinals.
Nadal said after the match that he should have closed it out in straight sets but acknowledged that he needs time to find his groove after a six-week injury layoff. The Spaniard injured his rib during his Indian Wells semi-final win against Carlos Alcaraz, whom he’ll meet on Friday for a place in the last four.
“It’s been a terrific end of the match, but the truth is we shouldn’t have reached that point & finish the match before. But we know where we’re coming from & you have to accept the errors & keep fighting till end. That’s only thing I can demand of myself right now.”
The World No. 4 sounded pleased with the game time he has logged up at the Caja Magica this week.
“Yes, but maybe not so much time [smiling]. But it’s OK. I’m happy I’ve been able to be on court 2h yesterday & 3h today. Irrespective of what happens tomorrow, and I’ll try to be ready and give my best, this been good for me,” he said.
Rafael Nadal brings up 1,050th career win, sets up blockbuster Alcaraz clash
Rafael Nadal rejoices after beating David Goffin on Thursday
Rafael Nadal displayed his characteristic mental strength and resilience as he saw off a determined Goffin to live to fight another day.
In the process, the legendary left-hander joined Jimmy Connors (1,274), Roger Federer (1,251) and Ivan Lendl (1,068) in achieving 1,050 singles match wins. Moreover, his victory over Goffin took him to a record-extending 99th Masters 1000 quarterfinal in his 125th appearance in the tournament category.
It will also be his 20th straight Masters 1000 last-eight clash since a third-round outing at 2017 Coupe Rogers.
Up next for Nadal will be his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. The 19-year-old (25-3) has been on a tear this season, racking up titles in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona. Nadal has won the pair’s two previous meetings, including one last year in Madrid.