Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s late night at Real Madrid vs Man City before key matches
Real Madrid v Man City: Match in pictures
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Two titans of tennis put their competitive interests to one side on Wednesday evening so they could watch Real Madrid’s thrilling Champions League win over Manchester City. Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will play in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday, but that couldn’t prevent the pair taking in what turned out to be a classic showdown.
Mallorca-born Nadal, 35, will have been particularly glad to see the club he supports reach the European final after they already clinched La Liga last weekend. Real’s win might also be considered a triumph for AC Milan fan Djokovic, who has shown favour towards City’s bitter nemeses, Manchester United, in the past.
Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola returned to the Bernabeu with his City side having edged a 4-3 result in the opening leg. Riyad Mahrez’s 73rd-minute strike appeared to seal their spot opposite Premier League rivals Liverpool in the final, only for substitute Rodrygo to force extra time thanks to his quick-fire brace off the bench.
Ruben Dias’ foul on Karim Benzema cleared a path for the Frenchman to score his 43rd goal in 43 games this season. A 3-1 victory on the night was enough for Real to emerge as 6-5 victors on aggregate, leaving neither Nadal nor Djokovic with any regrets that they stayed up late for the mania in Madrid.
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The world No. 1 was the first player to book his spot in the Madrid Open’s third round, where he’s due to face off against wild card Andy Murray at 11am on Thursday (noon local time). Djokovic—who turns 35 on May 22, the official start date of this year’s French Open—blazed past Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 when he opened his campaign on Tuesday.
Third seed Nadal will have more of a respite before he’s set to face off against David Goffin in the afternoon (estimated start time 3pm BST). The five-time Madrid Open champion faces a more congesetd schedule after he played his first match of the competition on Wednesday when he beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 7-6(4).
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