'No mercy': Rafa Nadal's brutal takedown of tennis' 'new Nadal'

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rafael Nadal, pictured here after beating Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open.
Rafael Nadal destroyed Carlos Alcaraz in the battle of new and old. Image: Getty

Rafael Nadal has destroyed Spanish prodigy Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open in their highly-anticipated battle of generations.

Nadal showed he's still the boss of Spanish tennis as he cruised to a 6-1 6-2 win over teenage sensation Alcaraz on the youngster's 18th birthday.

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Nadal, seeking his sixth title in Madrid and looking to regain top form ahead of the French Open, was never threatened by Alcaraz, who received a birthday cake from the organisers after being given the present of a harsh lesson from the 20-time grand slam champ.

Alcatraz, ranked 120th in the world and touted by many in Spain as the successor to the 34-year-old Nadal, is often referred to as the 'new Nadal'.

He was coming off his first victory at a Masters 1000 event and had called the match against his idol a "dream come true."

But Alcaraz squandered a break point in the very first game and struggled to keep up with Nadal throughout the match.

The wildcard entry suffered from too many unforced errors, earning his lone break toward the end of the second set.

Alcaraz needed medical attention in the third game after losing a long rally, apparently hurting his arm or shoulder while going for an overhead smash.

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Nadal to meet Alexei Popyrin in third round

The two Spaniards had never played a match against each other but practised together at the Australian Open, when Alcaraz reached the second round.

"It was a difficult match against a youngster who has been playing very well and who has an enormous potential ahead of him," Nadal said.

"All he needs is some time. In addition to being a great tennis player, he also has great values, which is something society needs right now."

After the match, tournament director Feliciano Lopez, who lost to Alcaraz in the Andalucia Open last month, brought out a birthday cake, and Nadal also joined the celebration.

Feliciano Lopez and Rafael Nadal, pictured here presenting a birthdate cake to Carlos Alcaraz.
Feliciano Lopez and Rafael Nadal present a birthdate cake to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images)

Next up for Nadal on Thursday will be the challenge of rising 21-year-old Australian Alexei Popyrin, who won the battle of the young guns with 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Earlier, second-seeded Daniil Medvedev broke his six-match tour-level losing streak on clay with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The third-ranked Medvedev hadn't played since March at the Miami Open and will next face Chilean Cristian Garin, who defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-3 6-4.

Alexander Zverev, the 2018 Madrid champion, comfortably defeated 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2, while Stefanos Tsitsipas made comfortable progress, hammering the controversial Benoit Paire 6-1 6-2.

with AAP

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