This content was published 9 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
It is the mark of a good tennis player to win matches despite being outplayed for large periods. The ability to win the big points sets tennis aside from other sports. No more so was this emphasised when Rafael Nadal triumphed in the best match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia so far. The reigning champion beat qualifier Ernests Gulbis 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 but the stats will say his Latvian opponent won more points. So who deserved to win? Nadal will say he did as he sets his sights on an eighth straight final and he even went as far as criticising his opponent. “Tennis is not like football where you score a goal and you stay back and you can win the match,” he claimed. “In tennis you play every point and not only, normally but not always, the best player wins and if you understand that the best player is him. “If you hit as hard as you can and hit every ball at 216 or 220 and then that means being the best player then perhaps he was the best player. “For me the best player is to try and find solutions against the other player and when I served for the second set and I lost and also in the third and I still was fighting and I found solutions so the best player won. “Gulbis is a fantastic player and he needs to pace himself a little more and he asked too many times to the umpire to look at the ball and I never do that. I don’t like this attitude on court but everyone is free and he needs to be a little cool. But he is a great player.” Gulbis stunned Nadal by winning the first five games to help him take the first set and kept battling away throughout in a memorable match. “I thought I was the better player in the match and also in the the second and third sets but he is the champion and well, I lost against him in Indian Wells when I also thought I played better than him,” said Gulbis. “He is solid and he didn’t do anything special and I made mistakes and so he won. “It was probably more a case of me losing than him winning but against him you have to win. This is why he is who he is.” Nadal’s reward is a quarter-final against compatriot David Ferrer for the second week in a row. Ferrer reached the last eight by default after illness ruled out Philipp Kohlschreiber.