Nadal’s Barcelona return ended by De Minaur

BARCELONA   -   Rafa Nadal’s hopes of win­ning the Barcelona Open for a 13th time were dashed on Wednesday following a 7-5 6-1 second round defeat by Australian fourth seed Alex de Minaur. The Spaniard was playing his first tournament since January and had made a winning return on Tuesday with his first round victory over Flavio Cobolli, but the 37-year-old was no match for the in-form De Minaur. “Alex is a great player. In terms of tennis today, he was in bet­ter shape than me,” Nadal said. “He has really played at a very high level since the beginning of the season. I think he has made a very im­portant step forward in his level of tennis.” De Minaur began brightly, breaking in the opening game, but Nadal broke back to make it 3-3 before the Australian made the decisive break and held to take the first set, and had little trouble as he strolled to win the second. Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champi­on, managed to win just two points on De Minaur’s serve in the second set.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt