Playing with angles and spin is what Rafael Nadal does best. Recently, the Mallorcan dispatched debutant Andrey Rublev in the group stages of ATP Finals 2020. In a dominant victory, Nadal hit some of his signature winners.
During his match against Rublev, Rafa hit an absolute beauty: a passing winner which seemed impossible to reach. He was pushed to defense by Rublev’s serve.
Rublev served close to the service line and Nadal had to stretch to get the ball. As the ball landed close to the net, Rublev hit a strong forehand towards Nadal’s backhand.
Running from left to right, Nadal stretched and dispatched an angled backhand winner past Rublev’s forehand. The Russian was near the net, ready to volley, but Nadal found the right angle which kept the ball away from Rublev.
Finding winners outta nowhere 😻
A beauty from @RafaelNadal vs Rublev last night!#NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/hQJYlPne8N
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 16, 2020
Rafael Nadal disappointed with his backhand at Rolex Paris Masters
Rafa certainly improved what he felt was wrong at the Rolex Paris Masters. The 20-time Grand Slam champion had said that he needed to improve his backhand and it surely looks like the backhand is firing again.
Earlier at the Paris Masters, Rafa Nadal hit a similar passing winner against Alexander Zverev, but with his forehand. In a 15-shot rally, Rafa had to stretch in his forehand side to reach the ball and dispatch it past Zverev.
Again, the shot had the same characteristics of finding the angle and placement. It showed how much Nadal uses his wrist to divert the ball past his opponent.
Vintage forehand from 🇪🇸 @RafaelNadal
🎥: @TennisTV | @RolexPMasters | #RolexParisMasterspic.twitter.com/3BuOtLX07p
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 7, 2020
Rafa hit 14 winners against Rublev in a match that lasted close to 80 minutes. He served well and minimized his mistakes.
“I was happy about the way I approached the match. I didn’t suffer much with my serve. It is only a start. I still have to face Dominic and Stefanos,” Nadal said.
After a long time, Nadal looks like a serious contender for the ATP Finals title. He has a tough group involving the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and the 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, but both of them can be a cakewalk for Nadal if he gets into his groove.
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