Rafael Nadal claimed his 20th Major crown at Roland Garros in October 2020. Rafa returned to Paris a few weeks later and competed in the Paris Masters, where he faced Feliciano Lopez in the second round. Nadal toppled his compatriot 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, scoring a massive milestone.
Rafa became the fourth player with 1000 ATP wins, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer on the special list. It was the tenth win for the Spaniard over the older compatriot, prevailing in the second set and earning an early break in the deciding set that put him in front.
Rafa saved three out of four break chances and grabbed one out of seven break points. Nadal started the match with a double fault, suffering an early break and setback. Lopez confirmed the advantage with a service winner in game two before Nadal got his name on the scoreboard with a hold at 30.
The veteran saved a break chance in game four with an ace on the T-line, and Nadal fired another ace to stay within a break deficit. Feliciano went 5-3 with an ace before Rafa held at love in the ninth game, forcing Lopez to serve for the set.
With no sign of nervousness, the 39-year-old held at love after a service winner to finish the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes. With no room for error, Nadal dropped four points behind the initial shot in set number two, creating five break chances to keep the pressure on at the other end.
Rafa held at 15 with an unreturned serve in the first game, earning two break chances at 2-1. Feliciano saved them to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard before going 2-3 against four more break chances.
After a slow start, Rafael Nadal beat Feliciano Lopez in Paris 2020 for the 1000th win.
Unable to convert them, Nadal served well at the end of the set but didn’t create any more chances before the tiebreak. At 3-3, Rafa landed a volley winner to secure a mini-break and fired two winners to set three set points.
Lopez saved the first two on serve before Nadal captured the third to seal the set and gather a boost ahead of the decider. The younger Spaniard clinched a break of serve in the first game of the third set and fended off two break chances in the next game to take a 2-0 lead.
Both players served well in the remaining games and Rafa sealed the deal with a hold in game ten, advancing into the third round and securing his 1000th ATP win. “It was a tough start against a great player on this surface.
He’s had a lot of great results and he knows me very well. It was my first hard court match in a long time, especially indoors. I started the encounter in the worst possible way, especially against a big server like Feliciano.
I played the rest of the game under a lot of pressure but I found a way which is the most important thing. I’m very proud of this win. Sometimes personal satisfaction is more important when you win games like this than when you go on the pitch and get a 6-3, 6-3 win,” said Rafael Nadal.