'This is ridiculous': Tennis world in disbelief over Rafa Nadal drama

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Rafa Nadal, pictured here after saving four match points to beat David Goffin at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal saved four match points to beat David Goffin at the Madrid Open. Image: Getty

Tennis fans were left in pure disbelief on Thursday at the Madrid Open after Rafa Nadal saved four match points to take down David Goffin in extraordinary scenes.

Just like his beloved Real Madrid did the night before to reach the Champions League final, Nadal fought his way back from the brink to win a lengthy tie-break and secure the 1050th win of his career in a 6-3 5-7 7-6 (11-9) epic.

'ALMOST NIGHTLY': Nick Kyrgios under fire for 'entitled' act

UGLY SCENES: Novak Djokovic in incident with chair umpire

The win kept alive Nadal's quest for a record-extending sixth title in the Spanish capital and earned him a spot in the quarter-finals.

The 35-year-old said he drew inspiration from Real Madrid's heroic comeback victory over Manchester City less than 24 hours previously.

"Yesterday was an unforgettable night. The spirit that Real Madrid had was just incredible. For me today, in some way, it was an inspiration," said Nadal, who attended the match at the Bernabeu in which Real pulled off an extraordinary fightback to knock out Manchester City.

"It was a tough match, David played at a very high level but at the same time I am not completely happy, because I think I had to finish the match in straight sets, without a doubt."

On Wednesday, Real scored in extra time to beat City 3-1 (and 6-5 on aggregate), setting up a Champions League final clash with Liverpool later this month.

The 21-time major champion was contesting just his second match after a six-week break due to a rib injury and rebounded from tricky moments during his showdown with Goffin, who has a career-high ranking of seventh but is currently down to 60 in the world.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here speaking to the media after his win over David Goffin.
Rafa Nadal speaks to the media after his win over David Goffin. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Nadal had to recover from an early break before clinching a 46-minute opening set.

The Spanish third seed held two match points and served for the second set but was stretched to a third by Goffin.

In the deciding-set tie-break, Nadal saved four match points, hitting clutch drop shots on two of them, before he finally moved into a record-extending 99th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final and his 16th in Madrid.

"Three hours 10 (minutes) on court helps increase my physical performance," Nadal said.

"A very important victory, saving match points, that (gives me) confidence to keep going.

"I need matches and I need days like today to be fit."

Fans and commentators were left stunned by Nadal's comeback.

Novak Djokovic gets walkover from Andy Murray

Earlier, defending champion Alexander Zverev moved into the quarter-finals after Lorenzo Musetti was forced to retire due to a thigh injury when he was down 6-3 1-0.

The Italian had called for the trainer between sets but could not continue.

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev dispatched Dan Evans with a 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 victory over the Briton after recovering from a slow start.

The Russian will now face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 6-4.

And top seed Novak Djokovic earned a day of rest after the eagerly-awaited clash with former World No.1 Andy Murray was called off after the Briton pulled out due to a stomach illness.

“Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Stadium due to illness. We wish you a speedy recovery," officials announced.

Tournament director Feliciano Lopez later told the Daily Mail: “I had a message yesterday from Andy that he was not feeling well.

"He had food poisoning, it sounds like he is feeling better this morning but is still not well enough to go on the court.”

The World No.1 will next face Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Dusan Lajovic 7-5 6-3.

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting