Beating the wind

Nadal did not take pity on the 20-year-old and 213rd American Korda, who idolizes him, on a day of uncomfortable conditions at the Chatrier. In quarters, Sinner.

The sun shone at times at noon this Sunday at the Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros, but the feeling on the track was not too pleasant due to the cold (over 12 degrees) and the wind (24 km / h). Thus, with some discomfort, Rafa Nadal played his round of 16 match against the 20-year-old American and 213rd in the world Sebastian Korda, the son of Petr 'Pájaro Loco' Korda. And he won it with one of those beatings on clay to which he has accustomed us throughout his 19 years of professional career: 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2 in 1h: 55.

In this forceful way, although not too bright, the Spaniard qualified for the 14th time for the quarterfinals of the tournament, more than anyone else. They will be the 42nd who plays in Grand Slams (he surpasses Jimmy Connors (41) in the historical third place, behind Federer (57) and Djokovic (46)) and in them he will face the Italian Jannik Sinner, who surprised the German Alexander Zverev (6-3, 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3). Once again, and it's been 18 since 2007, Nadal got rid of a rival under 21 years old in a major. They have only beaten him at that age or less, being him the same or older, Juan Martín del Potro, at the 2009 US Open, and Nick Kyrgios, at Wimbledon 2015. His record against NextGen in the last 13 years is now 18-2.

It was not the day for frills in Paris. The wind made an inhospitable sound in the stadium structures, like a Western movie, with an echo accentuated by the scarcity of public. There were not a thousand spectators who witnessed the meeting due to the anti-COVID protocol. The clay fluttered on the court and reached the stands, even the highest parts (certified by a server). So it was not easy for the game to have rhythm and long and interesting rallies. Under these circumstances, Nadal did just enough to carry out the game with solvency and tranquility. The first game was difficult for him to negotiate after saving two break balls, although he did not suffer again until the start of the third set, when Korda broke his serve. For the rest, the victory was a matter of letting the American's failures fall one after another (48 in total), still very green and perhaps dazzled by the admiration he feels for Rafa, his “greatest idol” and whose name he gave to one of his cats. The right, yes, he runs well when he can lie on top of the ball. A good starting point for prosperity.

Nothing stood out especially in the game of the number two in the world, if perhaps the good treatment of the ball and mobility, and even so he won with astonishing ease as he wanted and when he wanted. Although it is not likely that this game will help you much to know how it will really be when the first curves arrive on its gentle road.

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