Rafael Nadal says his recent upturn in form is due to working to 'recover' his serving motion following his back injury.
Nadal suffered the injury just before the Australian Open which forced him to tinker with his serving technique for the tournament in order to protect it.
He went out in the quarterfinals, though, and then suffered a shock defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo.
However, since then he has won the Barcelona Open and on Wednesday made a powerful start to his Madrid Masters campaign as he overpowered youngster Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-2.
And, according to Nadal himself, working to regain his usual serve has been pivotal in that improvement.
"I have been serving much better for days," Nadal said after his second round win.
"I have worked on it and we have studied things. I have felt comfortable with the service again since I arrived in Madrid.
"I have recovered some things with the work we have done. I needed to calmly study the motion, and winning in Barcelona has helped me in this regard."
Nadal could have faced another of the ATP Tour's top young players in the third round, but Jannik Sinner lost out to Alexei Popyrin on Wednesday, and so it is the Australian who will now get a shot at upsetting the world number two.
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