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Rafael Nadal crashes out of French Open in first round

Rafael Nadal tennis news

Rafael Nadal was unable to conjure up some magic on day two of the 2024 French Open, with the 14-time champion losing in straight sets to No.4 seed Alexander Zverev, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3.


Coming in to the French Open, Nadal had not lost to anyone other than Novak Djokovic for 80 straight matches. However, given the significant injury layoffs that the Spaniard had undergone over the past two years, there was an air of inevitability about this one — and not just because tennis bookmakers had him as a +175 underdog.

With a full house at Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal’s hopes of pulling off a fairytale upset began in the worst possible way. The 22-time Grand Slam champion was broken to love, immediately conceding a lead that he would be unable to claw back.

Nadal surprisingly poor under pressure in loss

At 37 years of age and having only played a handful of matches in the past two seasons, no-one was expecting Nadal to be at his physical prime.

What was a surprise, though, was his lack of execution under pressure.

Towards the end of the first set, Nadal had an opportunity to make Zverev — known for struggling with nerves on occasion — serve for the set. However, the Spaniard conceded another break in the ninth game to lose the set.

In the second set, Nadal was up a break and serving to level the match at 5-4. Uncharacteristically, he was broken to love. The set went to a tiebreak and, again, he fell short when push came to shove, losing 7-5.

Once more in the third set, Nadal failed to take his chances. Up a break early on, he conceded the lead and, along with it, any hopes of a comeback.

With the win, Zverev strengthens his outright betting odds in Paris. The German is now a +500 chance with Bovada to claim his maiden Grand Slam title, behind Carlos Alcaraz (+240), Novak Djokovic (+350) and Jannik Sinner (+375).

Next up, Zverev will face either David Goffin or Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard for a spot in the third round.

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