In the battle of generations, Rafael Nadal took on Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinal of the 2022 Madrid Open. Given Alcaraz’s exponential rise in the last few months, this match was projected as the ‘passing of the baton’. Nadal is Alcaraz’s idol and beating him on clay would’ve been a fanboy moment for him.
The 19-year-old took the first set convincingly 6-2 and looked in complete control of the match. He was making Rafa move left, right, and center and was taking charge from the baseline. He was also dominant in the winner’s count and was clearly the better player in the first set. He carried the momentum in the second set and held serve. But against the run of play, Alcaraz took a minor fall while trying to dig a big forehand.
Nadal, who is considered to be one the most sporting player on tour, was quick to check up on Alcaraz. He straight away went up to Alcaraz to ask him whether he was alright after the fall and looked concerned until the 19-year-old gave him a thumbs up. Nadal was rightly received with a round of applause for his incredible gesture.
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Carlos Alcaraz crosses the finishing line despite momentum loss
Alcaraz got medical treatment after his fall but was clearly affected by it. He got broken right away in the next game and then lost a string of games and eventually the set 1-6. But the momentum still wasn’t shifted completely towards Nadal. The young Spaniard bounced back in the third set and took from where he left in the first.
He was quick to take a break and capitalized it by closing out the set 6-3 to register the biggest and probably the most special win of his short, yet impactful career. He will now face World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal on Saturday.
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