Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo lost the quarter finals of the Japan Open against Spain’s Rafael Nadal Friday, but stood strong and forced the Spaniard to a tie-break in the first set.
Nadal, winner of last year’s Japan Open, won the game with 7-6 (6), 6-3.
The Colombian earned a break point with Nadal serving for the match at 5-3, but the 10-time Grand Slam champion hit a passing winner to get to deuce and ended the match moments later.
However, the 53rd-ranked Giraldo earned the respect of Nadal, who admitted that “it was a tough first set.”
The Colombian “is a very graceful player who can hit winners from everywhere,” said Nadal after the match.