Rafael Nadal advanced for the 16th time in his career to the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals after beating David Goffin in three agonising sets.
Nadal, playing in the city that he loves so much, won 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(9), in three hours and nine minutes. He did, though, have to overcome some complications on the day as Goffin impressed at times.
“My foot hurts and I get weak,” Nadal explained after the win. “This is part of my day to day life.
“The injury is chronic and incurable. That’s the bad thing about not having finished the game earlier. Tomorrow I could wake up with more problems than usual and I have to accept that.”
A Real Madrid fan and lover of Spain’s capital, Nadal acknowledged how good it felt to play there again.
“Playing in Madrid is always a gift,” Nadal said. “I love the competition and we train to overcome adverse situations.
“Without that ability, I would have spent time doing other things.
“You have to have the humility not to consider yourself so good that you don’t make mistakes. Sometimes things don’t end the way you expect them to.”
Consistency hasn’t come easily to Nadal, with injuries holding him back. But he was pleased with his performance again on Thursday.
“I needed rhythm, but not that much,” Nadal said. “You have to be realistic, I know how I got here and I know it’s a tough week.
“Winning two games here is fantastic news. I’m going to try to give it my all tomorrow and give myself my chances.”
The game against Goffin ended spectacularly, and even the Spaniard himself enjoyed the show that was put on.
“It was an unbelievable end to the game that we should never have had to come to,” Nadal said.
“But we know that things are not perfect at the moment. You have to fight until the end and that’s what I’ve done with the help of all of you [the fans].”