Nadal’s purple patch continues

Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Madrid Masters after a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Andrey Kuznetsov on Tuesday.

One break in the first set and two breaks in the second set were enough for a rampant Nadal, who hit 22 winners and accumulated a mere nine unforced errors, to progress at the tournament he has won four times.

A hallmark of Nadal’s victory was the consistency of his first serve. Not only did he continuously land it in-play, his placement was also sound. Consequently, he required just eight second serves all match and lost only five points on first serve. He sent down four aces and gave away no double faults.

The Spaniard last tasted defeat way back in the opening round of the Miami Open in March and is now bidding for a third title in a row following victories at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open.

Elsewhere on a busy day in the Spanish capital, Jack Sock beat Benoit Paire, Gael Monfils overcame Kevin Anderson, Nick Kyrgios recorded a win against Guido Pella and Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Santiago Giraldo.

There was an emotional return to the circuit for Juan Martin del Potro who, after recently recovering from a terrible run of injuries, proved too much to handle for Dominic Thiem as the former won 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Speaking afterwards, del Potro struggled to contain his emotions.

“I have just played my best match since I came back to tennis after my surgeries. I’ve had a great test against a very high-level player,” the Argentine said as he shed a tear.

In one of the later games Andy Murray continued his defence of the title as he was forced to go the distance before eventually succeeding against Radek Stepanek 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-1.