WORLD No1 Rafael Nadal prepared for his defence of the French Open at the end of the month by winning yesterday’s Madrid Open.
The victory came as a result of the match being cut short, however, after opponent Kei Nishikori was forced to retire with a back injury during the fourth set.
The final scorecard read 2-6, 6-4, 3-0, yet Nadal had been a set and a break down, losing 4-3 in the second set, when Japan’s Nishikori was struck by injury.
After a long rally, the 24-year-old pulled up clutching his back and Nadal went on to win the game and the set 6-4 to force a decider.
“It was my hip and actually everywhere after the second set, my legs were hurting too much,” said Nishikori, who had come through a gruelling three-set semi-final against David Ferrer.
“It was very sad, especially as I was winning, playing almost the best tennis in my life. But there is some good side too. There is a lot of confidence I get from this tournament,” Nishikori added.