A valiant Zizou Bergs takes a set against Rafael Nadal before breaking down in Rome

A valiant Zizou Bergs takes a set against Rafael Nadal before breaking down in Rome
A valiant Zizou Bergs takes a set against Rafael Nadal before breaking down in Rome

For his last tournament before a possible participation in Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal was eagerly awaited in Rome after having achieved great performances a few days ago in Madrid. For his entry into the running, the Spaniard faced Zizou Bergs this Thursday in the first round.

Obviously the favorite of this meeting, the Spaniard started the match perfectly, leading quite quickly 3-1. It was then that Nadal began to thwart and Bergs, who did not seem at all impressed by adversity or the public who were totally behind his opponent, took advantage, to return to 3-3 by showing very good things. Then trailing 4-3, Bergs won the last three games, conceding only two small points in the process, to surprise everyone and pocket the first set. If the Belgian number 1 took advantage of a drop in Nadal’s level, who notably committed several unusual mistakes, he also knew how to stay focused without breaking down during important moments.

The interruption then did good for Nadal who got his head back upright and took over the game, quickly leading 3-0. Bergs then held on, offered himself two break points but without succeeding in taking advantage of Nadal’s relative weakness on his serve. Too inconsistent between remarkable points and avoidable mistakes, Bergs was then sent into an indecisive third round.

In this set, the scenario of the second round was repeated a bit. At 3-1, Nadal even got a double break point. Mass is said, the Mallorcan fans must have said. But Bergs held his throw before missing three break points, reminding everyone that the margin between the two men was reduced this Thursday. At 4-3, Bergs was also close to the break, having taken the first two anointed ones of the game, but failed to capitalize on it. Finally, Nadal held on until the end to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Although he may have some regrets, Bergs still leaves Rome with good points in the ATP rankings which will allow him to enter the top 100 next season for the first time in his career. For his part, Nadal will not have been particularly reassured and will have to do much better in the next round if he wants to get rid of Hubert Hurkacz.

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