Hurkacz slows Nadal’s progress in Rome

The Pole will face Etcheverry in the third round

May 11, 2024

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Hubert Hurkacz had not faced Rafael Nadal before.
By Staff

The condition of protected ranking has forced Rafael Nadal to have to face the tough challenge of facing a Top 10 from very early on in each of the three tournaments he has played on this tour on clay. Specifically, in the second round. And at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia he faced No. 9 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

The Pole stopped Nadal’s progression in his debut in this edition of the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome 6-1, 6-3, in one hour and 33 minutes, heading to the third round for the second time in his career in this tournament.

Precisely since then, Hurkacz had not won a match at the Foro Italico. Diego Schwartzman (2020), Lorenzo Musetti (2021), David Goffin (2022) and JJ Wolf (2023) had prevented him from advancing in previous years.

For his part, Nadal arrived with the confidence of having won four of his five most recent matches and with the records under his belt for the most victories in Rome (70) and in the ATP Masters 1000 (410).

On the other side of the net, the seventh seed awaited the Spaniard in the first duel recorded by the Lexus ATP Head2Head between the two. Nadal entered the center court of the Foro Italico aggressively towards the rest, determined to put his rival in trouble. He had up to five break options in his favor, but he couldn’t take advantage of any of them.

Hurkacz experienced a similar situation in the next game to the rest. However, the ten-time tournament champion escaped danger twice to make it 1-1 in 27 minutes. That was the only game that Nadal could win in the first set, because the Pole chained the next five with 77% of points won with the first serve.

The scoreboard dictated a much larger distance than what the game had provided on the court. But the script did not change in the second set. Especially after Hurkacz managed to open a new gap in the third game, which he then consolidated with his serve (3-1).

The break was enough for him to certify his place in the third round, where he will face Tomás Martín Etcheverry. The Argentine had beaten Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-3, 7-5 in two hours at the beginning of the day.

Etcheverry has secured his best result at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome, where in his only previous participation (2023) he reached the second round (l. to Novak Djokovic).

Did you know…?

Hubert Hurkacz has a 7-1 record against Spaniards on clay on the ATP Tour.


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