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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday May 12, 2022

Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov rallied for a three-set victory as Rafael Nadal struggled with a foot injury in Rome.

Photo Source:Getty

Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Thursday evening as he lost control of the match after a dominant first set and faded due to his persistent left foot injury, and the fine play of Shapovalov.

Tennis Express

Shapovalov won 1-6, 7-5, 6-2, and will move on to face Norway’s Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals.

"I don't want to take away any credit from Denis," Nadal said. "Today is tough for me because I started the season great and then happened the rib. Since I came back the foot has been tough, to be able to practice days in a row. You need to move well to play at the highest level, things that I am not able to practice."

Nadal will have to get his body right in a hurry. The 13-time Roland-Garros got off to a flying start in 2022, winning his first 20 matches, but a rib injury suffered at Indian Wells, and the return of leg issues this week in Rome, make a 14th French Open title into more of an uphill battle then originally thought.

Nadal said he was extremely disappointed because he was feeling right on track with his game in practice and then during the first set against Shapovalov. Now he is forced to recalibrate and try to minimize the chronic pain before Roland Garros begins.

"Negative thing and toughest thing for me today is honestly I start to feel myself play much better," Nadal said.
"I started the match playing much better. My practice was much better, the warmup, than the other day. Yeah, I feel sad about that, that I started to feel again a lot of positive things. But then when these kind of stuff happens, the rest of the things, the rest of the positive things disappears, no?"

Nadal drops to 69-8 lifetime at Rome. It became clear in the third set that Nadal was troubled, as he was limping between points and grimacing between points.

“He was completely outplaying me at the beginning of the match, obviously the first set and the beginning of the second set,” Shapovalov said. “I was just kind of hanging in there, so definitely really happy to turn it around.”

Shapovalov said he became aware of Nadal’s issues later in the match.

“It was obvious to see that someone was going on towards the end of the match,” Shapovalov said. “I’m sure he was trying to do a good job during the match not to show it – hopefully he’s okay, and alright for the French Open, obviously I’m a huge fan of his growing up, I watched him play so many times growing up, I wanted to play and behave like him – hopefully he’s fit for the French.”

More to follow…


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