Nadal hits form af­ter slow start

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

RAFAEL Nadal (pic­tured) has hit form at the per­fect time head­ing into the French Open af­ter a slow start, by his stan­dards, to the clay­court sea­son caused some to doubt his chances of con­tin­u­ing his vice-like grip on the tour­na­ment.

Nadal has made a habit of clean­ing up at the warm-up tour­na­ments to Roland Gar­ros, but semi-fi­nal de­feats in Madrid, Barcelona and Monte Carlo led to a sense that his dom­i­nance on clay might be re­ced­ing.

Yet with the prospect of a record-ex­tend­ing 12th ti­tle ap­pear­ing far from cer­tain, the Spa­niard showed ru­mours of his demise were greatly ex­ag­ger­ated with an out­stand­ing 6-0 4-6 6-1 vic­tory over No­vak Djokovic to win the Ital­ian Open.

Few would now bet against him con­tin­u­ing his dom­i­nance on the sur­face in Paris, where he has only dropped one set since 2016.

Nadal’s ri­vals will have to hope the King of Clay is shorn of peak fit­ness.

He had only re­cently re­cov­ered from the knee in­jury which caused him to re­tire from In­dian Wells, when he lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets in Monte Carlo, which he de­scribed as one of his worst ever dis­plays on clay. He was back to his im­pe­ri­ous best in Italy, white­wash­ing world num­ber one Djokovic in the open­ing set for the first time on his way to a first ti­tle of the sea­son which is un­likely to be the last.

— Reuters.

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