Zverev knocks out Nadal in opening round of 2024 French Open

Alexander Zverev (R) had his moment with Nadal after the win. (Reuters via yahoo.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Alexander Zverev just passed his first test with flying colors after eliminating the most dominant clay court tennis player in the world, Rafael Nadal, in straight sets- 6.3, 7.6, 6.3- in the opening round of the French Open on May 27, 2024.

Going up against the living legend who won the most Grand Slam titles in the French Open, Zverev embraced the matchup and showed an improved attacking arsenal on the clay court.

With the first-round Roland Garros victory, Zverev made history after becoming just the third man to take down Nadal in the French Open aside from Novak Djokovic and Robin Sterling.

In an expected nip-and-tuck affair between the two superstars, Zverev proved all the critics wrong after handing Nadal a sweeping beating in almost four hours of intense tennis action.

Despite the 3-0 win, Nadal still put up a fight in all the sets and had his golden moments midway through the match but just couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.

Nadal had his chances of stealing the second set when he forced a tiebreaker, but Zverev’s heavy forehand bombs willed him to the win to go up 2-0 in the match.

With the sizable advantage Zverev already had entering the third set, the momentum of the game entirely shifted on his side which steered him to a flawless ending in the final frame.

Zverev’s performance was just in the zone, as his forehand down-the-line shots were kissing the line at will, as well as his service game that turned out to be consistent.

The German ace wrapped up the win with eight total service aces and capped off the first-round banger with an impressive 71% winning percentage on his first service possessions.

Zverev also had Nadal’s serving numbers after tallying six total break points in the match, compared to the Spaniard’s two-scored break points.

After the match, Zverev showed his respect to Nadal, who might be seeing action in the Roland Garros for the final time in his illustrious playing career.

“I’ve watched Rafa play all my childhood and I was lucky enough to play Rafa when I became a professional. I was lucky enough to play him two times on this beautiful court. I don’t know what to say. Today is not my moment, it’s Rafa’s moment, so thank you,” said Zverev.

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