In October 2020, Rafael Nadal won his 20th Major title at Roland Garros. A few weeks later, Rafa went back to Paris and competed in the Paris Masters, drawing Feliciano Lopez in the second round. Nadal defeated his fellow countryman 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 to achieve a significant milestone.
Rafa joined Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, and Jimmy Connors as the fourth player with 1,000 ATP victories. The Spaniard defeated his senior countryman for the eleventh time; he won the second set and then won the decisive set with an early break.
Rafa won one of seven break points while saving three of four break chances. With a double fault to start the match, Nadal was broken right away and put back. Before Nadal put his name on the scoreboard with a hold at 30 in game two, Lopez established the advantage with a service winner.
In the fourth game, the seasoned player used an ace down the T line to rescue a break opportunity. Nadal then fired another ace to close the gap to one break. With an ace, Feliciano increased his lead to 5-3 before Rafa finished the ninth game at love and compelled Lopez to serve the set.
The 39-year-old held at love after a service winner, showing no signs of nervousness, to take the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes. In set number two, Nadal lost four points after the opening shot due to the pressure, but he also had five break chances to keep the pressure on the opposing team.
In the first game, Rafa held at 15 after an unreturned serve and had two break points at 2-1. Feliciano defended them in order to maintain a positive score before facing four additional break chances at a deficit of 2-3.
Rafael Nadal defeated Feliciano Lopez in Paris 2020 for his 1000th victory after a sluggish start.
Nadal did not take advantage of them, serving well by the conclusion of the set but failing to generate more chances before the tie break. Rafa earned three set points at 3-3 by hitting two winners and a winning volley to earn a mini-break.
Before Nadal won the third set and sealed the match, Lopez saved the first two points on his serve, giving Nadal a lift going into the decider. In the opening game of the third set, the younger Spaniard secured a break at love and then held off two break attempts in the following game to take a 2-0 lead.
In the last games, both players provided strong serving, and Rafa completed the victory with a hold in game ten to move on to the third round and earn his 1000th ATP victory. “Starting off on this surface against a top player was difficult.
He has achieved many wonderful things, and he is extremely familiar with me. It had been a while since I had played on a hard court indoors. I got off to the worst possible start, especially when dealing with a powerful server like Feliciano.
The rest of the match was quite stressful for me, but I managed to find a way to play, which is what matters. The one that I’m most proud of is this triumph. Sometimes, winning matches like these provide greater personal gratification than competing and winning 6-3, 6-3 “explained Rafael Nadal.