Slow starting Nadal progresses to Roland Garros third round
It appears Rafael Nadal has got into the habit of being a slow-starter after the Spaniard survived another tricky match at Roland Garros earlier today,a advancing to the third round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Martin Klizan.
The seven-time champion, who was on the verge of going two sets down to Daniel Brands in the first round before recovering and moving on, dropped the first set to Slovakian Klizan in the second round, showcasing some shaky defensive play in the first 40 minutes of the encounter.
The all-lefty affair saw Klizan, who won the 2006 Roland Garros junior title, earn a break in the seventh game of the match and he quickly consolidated holding to love the following game for a 5-3 lead, hitting winners from both sides of the court.
Klizan, coached by former world No6 Karol Kucera, went down a double break early in the second set but got one of them back as Nadal dropped serve in the fifth game.
But the Spaniard maintained his lead and an ace in the ninth game earned him a set point, which he sealed with a service winner for level the match at one set apiece.
An unlucky net cord error from Klizan gave Nadal an early break in the third and it was all the world No4 needed to take the third set and edge ahead.
The pair alternated breaks at the start of the fourth set, but Nadal still managed to open up a 5-1 lead. As Nadal served for the match, Klizan got his hands on three break points.
Refusing to wave the white flag just yet, the Slovakian ripped a forehand return winner to break and keep his chances alive. Klizan saved a match point in the following game to hold for 5-3 but his attempted comeback was short-lived and moments later, Nadal created two more match points with a smooth volley that clipped the net and landed softly on the other side.
The Mallorcan needed only one as Klizan’s backhand down the line, which had done wonders for the Slovak throughout the match, failed him when it mattered the most and Nadal was through to the third round as his opponent’s ball sailed long.
The No3 seed will face Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the last 16.