Rafael Nadal beats Casper Ruud in Buenos Aires

Rafael Nadal kicked off his South American tour with a 7-6, 6-2 win over good friend Casper Roux at the Arena Parque Roca in Buenos Aires. Rafa and Kasper met in the ATP Finals last week and did not have time to rest and celebrate the holidays.

The two best friends boarded a plane and headed to Buenos Aires for the first stop on their South American swing, only to have their second clash in Chile in two days. Nadal and Ruud have met twice on Tour this year, with Rafa winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the Roland Garros final and 7-5, 7-5 in the ATP final.

Since 2016, the Spaniard overcame a slow start against the Norwegian in his first match in Buenos Aires to dominate the 2nd place. Rafa served first and closed out the opening game of the match with a serve and volley combo.

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Kasper won the second game with an ace down the tee to get his name on the scoreboard. In the third game, Rood missed a routine volley at 30-30, and Nadal closed it with an ace for 2-1. The Spaniard hit a crosscourt winner in the fourth game to earn two break points.

Casper stayed calm and denied them and closed out the game with a service winner. Rafa faced two break points in the fifth game. He saved the first with a victory, and in the second he left the volleyball behind with a score of 3:2. Nadal hit a volley winner at 30-30 in the sixth game and fired one crosscourt for a break chance.

Ruud denied him with a beautiful forehand winner, saved another and brought the game home with an unreturned serve for 4-2. The Spaniard held the seventh game to love with a powerful crosscourt winner and won the first break point in the eighth game with a forehand crosscourt winner.

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Rafa took the 15th ninth game with an unreturned serve and set up a set point on the return at 5-4. Casper saved it and held with a crosscourt winner to tie the score at 5-5.

Rafael Nadal won in South America.

The Spaniard saved a break point with a straight winner in the 11th game and the Norwegian earned the next game with an ace for the tie-break.

Ruud went up 3-0 and was two points away from winning the set 5-3. Casper had two set points at 6-4, but it wasn’t for him. Rafa saved the second with a service winner for 6-6 and set up a set point with a service winner.

Nadal missed a forehand from perfect position before saving the set point with an ace at 7-8. The Spaniard won the breaker 10-8 and hit the net. In the second game of the second set, Rafa was held at two and broke in the next game after Kasper hit a forehand.

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Ruud dropped another hard forehand in the 5th game and fell behind 4-1, suffering his second straight break. Nadal came from 30-0 down in the 6th game to bring home the winner and put it close to the finish line.

Kasper served well in the eighth game as he tried to stay in the set and it was Rafa’s turn to seal the deal in the next game. At 15-0 in the eighth game, Nadal fired one of the fastest forehands of his career and a diving winner! Rafa hit a service winner to celebrate victory ahead of his second duel in Chile in two days.

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