Saturday, January 22, 2022

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxime Cressy in final

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal wins – Rafael Nadal marked his return to the ATP Tour in style Sunday, downing American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6(6), 6-3 to lift the Melbourne Summer Set trophy. With just a week left for the Australian Open, it was his best chance to warm up and carry the winning momentum.

The Spaniard was playing for the first time since August this week after a foot injury curtailed his 2021 season. However, World No. 6 showed little sign of rustiness in Melbourne, not dropping a set at the ATP 250 event to earn his 89th tour-level crown.

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxim Cressy in final

Also Read: Novak Djokovic VISA Drama: Australian Open chief admits, ‘contradictory information led to Djokovic situation’: Follow LIVE Updates

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxim Cressy in final

“I want to thank all the organisation here. I feel privileged and a very lucky guy to be here again. I am coming back from some challenging moments in terms of injuries, so I can’t be happier. It means a lot to be back and with a trophy in my hands,” Rafael Nadal said during the trophy ceremony.

In an entertaining match, Cressy attacked Nadal with his high-flying serve-and-volley game, but the Spaniard returned well throughout and showed great fight. The 35-year-old saved a set point in the first-set tie-break and rallied from a break down in the second set, before eventually triumphing after one hour and 44 minutes.

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxim Cressy in final

“This court has always been very, very special for me,” Nadal said. “The Rod Laver Arena is very, very special for everyone and it is more special because of you guys. You guys are a great crowd and I can’t thank you enough.”

Nadal was competing in his first final on Australian soil since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open championship match in 2019. With his victory, the top seed has now continued his run of clinching at least one tour-level title every year since 2004.

In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, little separated the pair in the first set, with Cressy raising his level in the key moments as he saved all five break points he faced to force a tie-break. Nadal looked to penetrate from the baseline with his heavy topspin forehand and tried to find the toes of Cressy on return, but the World No. 112 held firm and moved to set point at 6/5 in the tie-break.

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxim Cressy in final

Also Read: ATP Cup 2022 FINAL: Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime power Canada to ATP Cup triumph over Spain

However, he was unable to find another first serve in the set, with Nadal capitalising to move ahead. The Spaniard then rallied from a break down in the second set, firing seven aces in the set to secure his victory.

Cressy was competing in his first tour-level final after standout wins over second seed Reilly Opelka, against whome he saved two match points, and third seed Grigor Dimitrov. Cressy will rise into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday following his dream run in Melbourne.

Melbourne Summer Set: Rafael Nadal warms up for Australian Open with Melbourne title, beats Maxim Cressy in final

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -