Nadal upset by Hurkacz at Italian Open

Rafael Nadal exits the Italian Open after losing to Hubert Hurkacz (skysports.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Rafael Nadal’s bid for an Italian Open championship title ended abruptly as he was defeated by Polish challenger Hubert Hurkacz, 6-1, 6-3, on May 11, 2024, at Stadio Centrale del Tennis in Italy.

Unlike his flawless performance against Belgium’s Zizou Bergs in the Round of 128, Nadal struggled against Hurkacz, failing to win a set or secure a break point throughout the match.

Nadal began slowly in their Round of 64 matchup, committing numerous unforced errors, which Hurkacz capitalized on.

Whenever Nadal misfired, Hurkacz responded decisively, often scoring with a forehand winner that set the tone for the match.

Unfortunately for Nadal, his first serve percentage was low, and he managed only a single ace compared to Hurkacz’s nine.

Nadal attempted a comeback in the second set, increasing the intensity of his shots down the line.

However, Hurkacz controlled the pace and responded with high looping top spins, forcing Nadal to remain on the baseline.

Despite several forehand winners from Nadal in the second set, Hurkacz countered effectively with drop shot winners.

All hell broke loose when Nadal desperately gunned for points, spraying his power shots at will but in the end, Hurkacz put on a solid defensive stand to wrap up the game with a momentum-boosting victory.

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