Rafael Nadal reached his fifth US Open final by getting the better of Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the semifinal of the 2019 edition of the tournament.
Though Nadal won the match in straight sets – 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 – there was a moment in the tie-break of the first set which could have changed the course of the match. Berrettini was leading 4-0 in the tie-break and according to the Spaniard, that was the toughest moment of the match for him.
In his post-match press conference, Nadal revealed what was going on in his head during that point.
“My goal was to win that point. With the 4-0, my goal was to win the point of the 4-0 to 4-1 with my serve.
“Of course, with 5-0, another mini-break against before is done. My goal at that moment is to put the first point on my score and then win one of the next two points on the return at least. Then you are 5-2. You are in a tough situation, but if you are able to win the next two points with your serve, then you are 5-4.
“The opponent still has two serves to win the set. But from 4-0 to 5-4 is a completely different perspective because then the opponent have the pressure, too. That was my goal. Then was 6-4, and I was lucky with that point.
“He played very aggressive couple of points, and I was able to hold it well, not miss at least, and put one more ball in in that moment. Lucky to win that first set in the tiebreak, not before. I had I don’t know how many breakpoints before that tiebreak.
“Of course, I was against the score in the tiebreak. That is true that during the whole set, I had plenty of chances, and he doesn’t.”