de Minaur gets win on clay over Rafa

Alex de Minaur has become the first Australian to defeat Rafael Nadal on clay. He defeated the King of Clay 7-5, 6-1 in the second round at the Barcelona ATP 500.

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The win came on the Pista Rafa Nadal. It just shows how dominant Nadal is on clay to have a court named after him when still an active player.

Australia’s Jordan Thompson had earlier in the year defeated Nadal in his comeback tournament, but that was on hard courts.

Nadal showed he can play at a good level however he was not able to maintain that against an in form de Minaur. Nadal was playing for the second time since that loss to Thompson in January.

“I think about the only thing I might have on Rafa on clay is physicality at this stage of his career,” De Minaur said. “I decided to try and make the rallies quite physical and long, use my speed to my advantage. It’s never easy against him.”

“When the draw came out, I probably wasn’t too keen on playing Rafa, but I turned my attitude around and looked at it like a huge opportunity and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” De Minaur said. “I’m extremely happy that I was able to get the win.

“I can probably say that I’m very, very fortunate that I didn’t play Rafa a couple years earlier on the clay. It would have been very, very different result. An amazing experience and we move on. It’s been a great year.”

Next up for de Minaur is the no. 16 seed Arthur Fils from France. This will be the pairs first meeting.

Thompson is also into the third round in Barcelona where he faces Casper Ruud, the no. 3 seed.

Ruud will be looking to avenge the loss against Thompson in the Los Cabos final back in February. They are 2-2 in the head to head.

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