Rafael Nadal wins Melbourne Summer Set, clinches 89th ATP title
Spanish maestro Rafael Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set after defeating Maxime Cressy on Sunday. Nadal outplayed the American qualifier 7-6(6), 6-3 in the final to win his 89th tour-level title. The former did not drop a set in the entire tournament. Notably, Nadal extends his streak of winning at least one ATP Tour title every year since 2004. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Nadal played in Melbourne after recovering from COVID-19.
- He had contracted the virus in December after competing in Abu Dhabi.
- Before that, Nadal played in Washington, losing the last-16 match to Lloyd Harris.
- He then skipped the entire season due to a foot injury.
- His last title in 2021 came in May when he won the Rome Masters after beating Novak Djokovic.
Here is what Nadal said while receiving the trophy
"I want to thank all the organization here. I feel privileged and a very lucky guy to be here again," said Nadal after winning in Melbourne. "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."
Melbourne Summer Set: A look at Nadal's run
Nadal began his Melbourne Summer Set campaign with a straight-set win over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (6-2, 7-5). The Spaniard then received a walkover from Tallon Griekspoor. In the semi-finals, Nadal downed Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-5. He clinched his first ATP title of 2022, claiming another dominant win over Cressy. Despite faltering sporadically, the world number six didn't lose a set in the tournament.
Nadal marked his return with a win
Nadal played his first tournament on Australian soil since losing to Djokovic in the Australian Open final in 2019. The Spaniard has won at least one ATP title every year since 2004. Nadal clinched his first ATP singles title after triumphing at the Prokom Open.
WATCH: Nadal speaks after his win
Nadal eyes his 21st Grand Slam title
After sealing the deal at the Melbourne Summer Set, Nadal eyes his 21st major title at the Australian Open. The 35-year-old has won this Slam only once in 16 attempts (2009). Nadal has a win-loss record of 69-15 at the Australian Open (win percentage of 82). In 2021, he reached the quarter-finals. Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Nadal 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5.
A dream run for Cressy
Nadal's opponent, Cressy, competed in his first tour-level final. The American qualifier overcame second seed Reilly Opelka to reach the quarter-final. Notably, Cressy saved two match points. He then beat Jaume Munar to reach the semi-finals. Cressy downed Grigor Dimitrov to enter his first ATP final. The former will now enter the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.