Rafael Nadal saved four match points against David Goffin to setup up a quarterfinal clash against his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid Open.
Nadal’s never-give-up attitude has carried him to 21 grand slam titles and that same legendary grit was on full display against the Belgian.
After Goffin saved two match points in the second set, Nadal returned the favor with four in a decisive tie-break to advance by the tiniest of margins, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(9), in a three hour and nine-minute marathon.
Nadal took the court seeking a record-tying 37th ATP Masters 1000 title but quickly found himself down an early break. But from 2-3, he managed to win the final four games of the opening set in spite of some uncharacteristic errors.
The Spaniard took command of the match with an eight-point stretch to start the second set, attacking with fizz on his groundstrokes.
But the Spaniard’s game dipped slightly at closing time as Goffin played some of his best tennis of the match to extend the contest, winning four straight games from 3-5.
The final set seemed destined for a tie-break, and the drama only increased in a frantic finish.
Nadal eked out the win when Goffin went wide on the Spaniard’s fourth match point.
By winning the decider, Nadal extended his perfect Madrid tie-break record to 10-0 since the event moved to clay in 2009.
The win takes Nadal to a record-extending 99th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final and his 16th in Madrid.
He will now face Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals who defeated Cameron Norrie 6-4, 7-6,6-3.
Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz being on the same court is quickly becoming a staple with Nadal holding a 2-0 head-to-head record against the youngster.
But with one clay crown already under his belt, Alcaraz is more than capable of holding on his own.