Rafael Nadal Battles Past Zizou Bergs in Rome Open Second Round

Rafael Nadal secured a hard-fought victory over qualifier Zizou Bergs in the Rome Open second round, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Nadal continues his comeback, aiming to prove himself ahead of the French Open, where he will bid for an incredible 15th title.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Rafael Nadal Battles Past Zizou Bergs in Rome Open Second Round

Rafael Nadal Battles Past Zizou Bergs in Rome Open Second Round

Rafael Nadal, the 37-year-old Spanish tennis icon, secured a hard-fought victory over qualifier Zizou Bergs in the Rome Open second round on Thursday, May 9, 2024. Nadal, who is preparing for the upcoming Roland Garros tournament, won the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, taking nearly three hours to defeat the Belgian player in the Italian capital.

Nadal, who has won a record 10 titles in Rome and 22 Grand Slams in his storied career, is continuing his comeback after being plagued by injuries and dropping to 305 in the world rankings. The clay court legend has said he will only play at the French Open if he feels competitive, and he is looking to prove himself ahead of the tournament.

"I have Roland Garros in just two weeks and a half... I need to prove myself if I am able to push my body to the limit, I need to push to feel myself ready for what's coming," Nadal told reporters after the match. He emphasized the need to overcome his fear of injury, stating, "I need to lose this fear. Matches like today help."

Nadal acknowledged that his movement on the court was inconsistent, saying, "Some moments I was moving faster. Some moments not. I need to get used to that, to take that risk... I feel more ready to try it than before." The Spaniard faces world number nine Hubert Hurkacz in the next round, with last year's winner Daniil Medvedev and beaten finalist Holger Rune also on his side of the draw.

In other matches, Naomi Osaka continued her winning return to Rome by seeing off Marta Kostyuk in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to set up a third-round clash with 10th-seed Daria Kasatkina. Top seed Iga Swiatek breezed into the third round with a rapid 6-0, 6-2 win against American Bernarda Pera, while world number three Coco Gauff kicked off her tournament with a straightforward 6-3, 6-3 win over Magdalena Frech.

As Nadal continues his quest for form and fitness ahead of Roland Garros, the Rome Open serves as a crucial stepping stone in his comeback. The 10-time champion's hard-fought victory over Bergs demonstrates his determination to overcome the challenges posed by his injuries and prove himself ready for the French Open, where he will bid for an incredible 15th title.