Shaky Rafael Nadal ends his Barcelona Open campaign

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Rafael Nadal will not seek his 132th Barcelona Open title, falling in the second round to Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-1 after an hour and 52 minutes. Nadal entered Barcelona after missing over three months, dealing with abdominal issues but giving his best at his beloved tournament.

He played well against Flavio Cobolli in the first round and challenged the Minaur in the opening nine games of the first set before losing ground. The veteran dropped half of the points in his games, facing nine break points and losing serve five times.

He broke Alex once in the first set, which was not good enough to avoid his fifth Barcelona Open loss. Alex served at 53% in the opening set and reduced the deficit, defending two out of three break points and delivering two breaks for an advantage after nearly 70 minutes.

Alex de Minaur, Barcelona 2024© Stream screenshot

Unlike yesterday, Rafa made a shaky start and netted a routine backhand in the first game of the encounter, handing a break to his opponent. De Munaur held after deuces in the second game, seizing his fourth game point with a service winner for 2-0 and an early boost.

Rafa opened a 40-15 advantage in the third game before losing ground again, squandering game points and offering Alex a break opportunity. The veteran denied it with a potent attack and held after de Minaur’s forehand error, getting his name on the scoreboard.

The Aussie secured the fourth game after the Spaniard’s forehand mistake before the home favorite held at 30 in game five, remaining within one break deficit.

Rafael Nadal lost to Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open.

Rafa bounced back in the sixth game, attacking and pulling the break back to lock the result at 3-3, giving the crowd something to cheer about and boosting his confidence.

A 12-time champion landed a drop shot winner for three game points in game seven and wrapped up the game with a powerful backhand crosscourt winner, securing his first lead of the match. De Minaur lost the ground in those moments and faced a break point in the eighth game, saving it and leveling the score at 4-4.

Alex produced a fine hold while serving to stay in the set in game ten and shifted into a higher gear, securing a break at love in game 11 and wrapping up the opener with a hold at love at 6-5.

Rafael Nadal, Barcelona 2024© Stream screenshot

Thus, de Minaur clinched 12 of the final 13 points and gained a massive boost ahead of the second set.

The younger player stood alone on the court, serving well and pressuring a 12-time champion. Rafa saved a break point in the first game and held, avoiding an early deficit. However, that was the last we saw from him in this match, as he had nothing left in the tank.

Alex broke Rafa in games three, five and seven, controlling the scoreboard and sealing the deal when the king of clay sprayed a forehand error at 1-5.

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