Rafael Nadal completed his South American tour at the Monumental Plaza de Toros in Mexico, defeating Casper Ruud in front of 40,000 people. It was the fifth duel between two great friends in the last two weeks, previously competing in Buenos Aires, Belo Horizonte, Quito, Bogotá and Mexico City.
Rafa scored four victories and closed the series with a 7-6 and 6-4 in front of a delighted Mexican fans. The first duel took place in Buenos Aires, and Nadal scored a 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Arena Parque Roca. Ruud got a break in the fifth game of the match and Nadal got it back in the eighth game.
The Spaniard saved three set points in the tie break and prevailed 10-8 with a smash winner. Nadal broke Ruud in games three and five of the second set for 4-1 and held to love in the eighth game to seal the deal. They met again at the Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, and Rafa won 7-6, 7-5 after fighting in both sets.
Casper defeated Rafa for the first time in Quito, 6-4, 6-4, and handed him the first defeat of the tour. The Spaniard bounced back in Bogotá, playing well in front of the Colombian fans and scoring a 7-6, 6-4 win. The last duel came in Mexico City, and it was another entertaining night of tennis between the No.
2 and No. 3 in the world. Nadal kicked off the action with his serve at 15 in the first game after a service winner. Ruud responded with a solid serve in the second game to put his name on the scoreboard. The Norwegian closed out the fourth game after a deuce, and the Spaniard claimed an entertaining point with a net winner for 3-2.
Rafa extended the sixth game with a winning lob before Casper took advantage of it after forcing the error of his opponent.
Rafa bid an emotional farewell
Rafael Nadal, on Friday, bid an emotional farewell to Mexico City — the place where he won his first ATP 500 title way back in February 2005.
“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away. Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved,” he said.
“It is an unforgettable feeling to live in such an environament in Mexico, I can only say thank you for the unconditional support, it is a country that has treated me like another Mexican. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to you,” he added.