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De Minaur Takes Down Nadal At Barcelona Open

Apr 17th 2024

De Minaur dethrones Nadal 7-5, 6-1 at the Barcelona Open

On the court that bears his name at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, Rafa Nadal played his second tour-level match since competing in Brisbane in January. Having won this event a staggering twelve times the last in 2021, the former world #1 relished the opportunity to compete in his home country. 

After winning his opening match against the young Italian Flavio Cobolli in straights, the twenty-two-time grand slam champion entered the stadium with a winning head-to-head against the Australian. 

Alex de Minaur has had a standout season winning his first ATP 500 event in Acapulco and for the first time cracked the top ten at #9. Currently ranked #11 and seeded fourth in Spain, the twenty-five-year-old brought his best in their first tour-level meeting on the dirt.

Nadal won the toss and elected to serve. The lefty from Mallorca gifted three backhand errors and dumped serve while de Minaur playing with confidence and clarity, struck two winners and consolidated the break.


Nadal missed four consecutive first serves and faced three deuce and break points but battled to hold while the Australian missed 4/5 first serves including a double fault yet held to 15 for 3-1.

The thirty-seven-year-old Spaniard opened the fourth with a brilliant backhand down the line and held to 30 for 2-3 while de Minaur despite his first ace, faced a double break point and dropped serve when Nadal ripped a backhand crosscourt. The partisan crowd erupted in applause and amplified the volume when their native son hit two consecutive winners to consolidate the break at love.

The Australian serving with new balls opened the eighth with his second double fault and though he faced two deuce and break point, leveled at 4-4 when Nadal whiffed a forehand. The 14-time French Open champion opened with a colossal forehand down the line and held easily to 15 for 5-4 while de Minaur struck two consecutive winners for parity. 

Nadal donated four consecutive errors, three off the backhand to dump serve while de Minaur consolidated the set 7-5 with his second ace and another backhand error from his opponent. 

Nadal served first in the second and though he faced deuce and break point, held for 1-0 while de Minaur held at love to level. The former world #1 opened the third with two consecutive backhand errors and with two more, dumped serve. De Minaur continued to effectively employ the forehand drop shot and while he donated a double fault, extracted another backhand error to consolidate the break. 

Nadal serving with new balls struggled despite leading 40-15. He faced four deuce, three break points, and dropped serve with a mishit forehand. The Australian opened the sixth with an incredible crosscourt backhand, closed with a fantastic forehand inside-in, and held at love for 5-1

Nadal serving to stay in the match opened with a spectacular forehand down the line but it was insufficient to avert the inevitable. With two outstanding winners de Minaur reached match point and converted when the Spaniard overcooked a forehand.

It was not the result Nadal had hoped for but he should glean confidence from a competitive first set. Despite a subpar first serve percentage (52%) de Minaur won 75% of first and 65% of second serve points. He was equally effective when returning, winning 42% of first and 65% of second serve return points. He saved 2/3 break points while converting 5/9

It was a solid performance in cool, windy conditions against an opponent still working towards his best level. Next up for the Australian is an unfamiliar opponent: the twenty-five-year-old German Daniel Altmaier or the French teenager, Arthur Fils.