Cerúndolo unleashes his great blow in the Caja Mágica

The Argentine achieves his first victory in Madrid

April 26, 2024

By Staff

The Mutua Madrid Open favors players with special shots and Francisco Cerúndolo has a place on that list. This Friday, the Argentine added the first victory of his career in the Caja Mágica, unleashing a blow that was as respected as it was feared in the locker room. The South American’s forehand, one of the most formidable shots on clay, woke up at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid, where he promises to make up ground on the way to the main stadiums.

The No. 22 in the PIF ATP Rankings separated his first rival in a match with two completely different faces, beating Hungarian Fabian Marozsan 6-2, 7-6(5) on Court 6. There, with a view of the Stadium Manolo Santana as a backdrop, the Argentine ended up winning on points a duel in which he had barely given up four games.

“I had been playing a great game, one of the best I have played all year,” confirmed Cerúndolo, completely adjusted to the conditions of Madrid. “I had it very controlled, 6-2, 5-2 and serve. I had match points with both turns of service and I couldn’t close it. He began to take more risks when he could see that he had lost it, he began to take a couple of those risks that he had. I had two match points in those two games that I served, that can break you down a bit, it brings you down. But luckily I was able to close it in the tiebreak. I think he had played a great game.”

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On one of the courts that make up the Tennis Garden of the Madrid event, a hit until now buried in the Spanish capital began to flourish. Cerúndolo’s right, a shot that sends half of the locker room back, finds at more than 600 meters of altitude an ideal habitat to sow fear. A similar curveball helped Rafael Nadal win five editions of the tournament and that shot promises to make the Argentine a difficult figure to stop in the coming days.

“Today I have had confidence with this blow, the truth is not in previous years,” acknowledged Fran, who completely dismantled Marozsan’s vertical game, capable of taking the middle court with absolute ease. “I had come two years before and had never managed to win a game. He had lost both times in the first round. Today I won, I’m in the third round and I hope this helps me, in a place where the ball runs, where it bites. Hopefully I can control my forehand and it is good.”

Comments about this weapon are not strange in the locker room, where this shot finds a special place when competing on clay. The Argentine, who this year climbed to the semifinals in Rio de Janeiro and captured at least one set in all his clay matches after crossing the Atlantic, is aware of the effect produced by a sensational weapon.

“Having people say that your blow is very impressive gives you confidence,” explained the Argentine. “In my case it is the right. When I go out on a court I know that they are not going to let me play on the backhand, they are not going to allow me to hit comfortably from the right so as not to unbalance them. It is something that gives me confidence and that I try to use to my advantage.”

In his first game in Madrid the shot had a devastating effect. Barely an hour had been enough for the Argentine to disrupt the plans of his opponent, subdued by an uncontrollable ball.

“It was something that happened as I started to grow, it is a process of years. When he was a kid he didn’t have a big hit. It happened as I began to grow, when I was 17-18 years old,” Fran said. “Once I began to lean towards that shot, I really liked seeing players like Fernando González or Juan Martín del Potro. I think I had them like. It is my strength, my powerful blow, the strong point in my game. I have to try to impose my forehand, try to hit as many blows as possible, whether they are winners or enough to spread them.”

In Madrid, where the ball moves with a special fury, the warning is sent.


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