RAFAEL NADAL was a break up in the second set when the match momentarily paused.
Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz were forced to stop play with the elder Spaniard 3-1 40-15 up in the second set as paramedics rushed to assist someone in the stands. The world No 9 had taken the opening set 6-2 before going down a break in the second.
Nadal was serving at 3-1 up in the second set and had game point at 40-15 when play was forced to stop as paramedics rushed to someone in the stands. Both players stood on the court waiting before umpire Nacho Forcadell confirmed there was an incident with a spectator, leaving both men retreating to their benches to wait out the delay.
It came after Alcaraz rolled his ankle when the third seed held for 2-1 and needed a medical time out to have it strapped up. He was then broken to love with Nadal serving to solidify the lead before play was momentarily suspended. During the break, the 19-year-old could be seen testing out his right ankle with some stretches, but still looked hampered.
The five-time former champion in Madrid attempted to stay warm by hitting some balls before entering a discussion with Alcaraz and Forcadell, requesting to play while the spectator was being assisted in the stands, as Amazon Prime Video commentors Greg Rusedski and Mark Petchey said they believed the person was unwell.
“They are happy to continue playing with the guys there,” the umpire confirmed into his walky-talky, as Nadal and Alcaraz chatted at the net. But the match did not resume as the person in the crowd was said to be “not very well”.
Minutes later, fellow spectators could be heard clapping as the fan in question left with medics and play resumed with the 21-time Grand Slam champion winning the game point to lead 4-1. And the break in play didn’t appear to help Alcaraz after he had rolled his ankle, with the teenager getting broken again for Nadal to close out a 6-1 set and force a decider.
The winner of the match will face Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-final after the world No 1 advanced with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Hubert Hurkacz earlier on Friday. The three-time champion in Madrid admitted he thought the all-Spanish clash would be “50/50” but gave the edge to Nadal.
“I would say 50/50,” he said of the outcome. “I mean probably slightly more chance for Nadal just because of experience and knowing how he played so many times in this altitude but let’s see, I think it’s going to be a good match.”