Nadal Battles Past Raonic, Gives Team Europe Commanding Lead At Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 21, 2019

Nadal Battles Past Raonic, Gives Team Europe Commanding Lead At Laver Cup

Nadal/Tsitsipas to play Shapovalov/Sock on Saturday

Rafael Nadal avoided a post-US Open letdown at the Laver Cup in Geneva, weathering an aggressive performance from Milos Raonic to prevail 6-3, 7-6(1) and give Team Europe a commanding 7-3 lead over Team World on Saturday.

Nadal improved to 8-2 against Raonic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and boosted his Laver Cup singles record to 2-1. Raonic was making his debut at this event. The Spaniard also increased his winning streak to 11 matches.

“Being here for me is a very positive energy. I like being around such a great team and the crowd is amazing,” Nadal said. “I feel very lucky [to win] the first set. I started to play better later in the match and I think I played a very good tie-break in the end.”

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The Canadian was left to rue eight missed break point opportunities in Nadal’s first three service games of the match. Sensing his opponent’s frustration, Nadal applied further pressure at 3-3 and laced a backhand passing shot to earn the first break of the night. A backhand volley sent wide from Raonic two games later wrapped up the opening set.

Raonic earned his first break of the match at 2-2 in the second set and it appeared the momentum had shifted, but sound advice from Federer at the changeover allowed Nadal to refocus.

“When you see a chance to come to the net, challenge him for a passing shot. You’re so good at the net,” Federer said. “Use spin, slice… you know, like in the old days!”

Nadal broke back in the next game with a delicate drop shot and backhand volley winner, throwing his fist in the air in approval. The set eventually moved to a tie-break and Nadal unleashed a barrage of forehand winners to take the first six points. A final winner from the Spaniard wrapped up play after two hours and seven minutes.

Read: Federer Uses Nadal Coaching To Defeat Kyrgios At Laver Cup

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