Nadal ‘in con­trol’ with his fore­hands

‘That’s the way I want to play’

The National - News - Sport - - TENNIS - Ahmed Rizvi

ABU DHABI // Op­po­nents be­ware.

Rafael Nadal has re­dis­cov­ered his mojo, with those ma­jes­tic fore­hands be­ing put to telling use against To­mas Berdych last night, dis­miss­ing the world No 10 in straight sets 6-0, 6-4 to book his place in the semi-fi­nals.

Play­ing his first match in more than two months, Nadala showed lit­tle rust as he romped through the open­ing set in 26 min­utes.

He then broke Berdych in the ninth game of the sec­ond set for a 5-4 lead and closed out the match with a blis­ter­ing ace down the mid­dle.

“I cre­ated a lot of dam­age with my fore­hands,” Nadal said. The de­fend­ing MWTC cham­pion will meet Mi­los Raonic in tonight’s sec­ond semis, which will be a re­match of last year’s fi­nal. “That has been one of my main goals in these past cou­ple of sea­sons – to re­dis­cover my fore­hand. When I am hit­ting my fore­hands, I feel in con­trol of the points.”

The fore­hands sim­ply flowed from Nadal’s racket last night, the Spa­niard hit­ting deeper than he has over the past two sea­sons even though this was his first match since his first round exit from the Shang­hai Mas­ters in the sec­ond week of Oc­to­ber. The Spa­niard had brought his sea­son to early end to help re­cu­per­ate from a re­cur­ring left wrist in­jury.

“I think in the first set, it was fantastic,” said the world No 9. “Ev­ery shot with my fore­hand, I cre­ated some­thing.

“I was able to open the court, then change to the fore­hand down the line. That’s the way I need to play if I want to have suc­cess.

“I think it was a great match over­all. I went to the net a few times and I didn’t miss much with my back­hand. It’s great news be­cause when I am los­ing my serve a lot of times, I come to press con­fer­ences and you guys ask me about the serve not work­ing.

“Most times, it is not the serve. It’s the game from the base­line when I am los­ing a lot of my serves. It’s about the shots from the base­line.”

Nadal is re­ally pos­i­tive about the new sea­son. “I think I played a fantastic first set,” he said. “Dif­fi­cult to imag­ine play­ing a first set like this af­ter a long time out with­out com­pet­ing. It hap­pened and I en­joyed a lot, and I think I played a very good sec­ond set too.

“When you have not com­peted for a while and come back, you don’t ex­pect to play at that very, very high level in your first match.

“But I prac­tised so good in Mal­lorca for one month and a half. I don’t have any ex­pec­ta­tions. I just want to en­joy. For me, there is no pres­sure now.

“I am start­ing from zero. That’s my men­tal­ity and I am try­ing to fo­cus on things that will help me to win,” he said.

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