Nadal Overcomes Stomach Virus to Advance in Madrid Open
Rafael Nadal was concerned going into his first match at the Madrid Open.
He lost practice time ahead of the tournament because of a stomach virus and didn't know exactly how his body would react when he stepped onto the "Magic Box" center court on Wednesday, 8 May.
Playing only a few days after falling ill, Nadal lost only four points on his serve in the first set and broke Auger-Aliassime three times in the second.
"I've had this stomach virus for a few days so this was a very important match for me," the second-ranked Spaniard said.
Nadal is trying to rebound from consecutive eliminations in the semifinals of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona, which marked his worst start to the clay-court season in four years.
"The important thing is to win, you know, especially given what's happened in the last three days," he said.
A five-time champion in Madrid, Nadal will next face American Frances Tiafoe, who defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
"He is playing really well," Nadal said of Tiafoe. "He has that drive and energy and it will be a good test for me and an opportunity for me to play a tough match and to keep improving."
(Published in an arrangement with The Associated Press.)