(June 26, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Rafael Nadal rallied from a set and a break down to stop Lukas Rosol 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4.
Lukas Rosol burst on the scene when he upset Nadal in five sets in the second round of Wimbledon back in 2012. The Czech picked up where he left off two years ago taking the first set 6-4, using his powerful serves and groundstrokes.
The Czech jumped out to a break to take a 4-2 lead in the second set, when a momentum shift seemed to take place. Nadal was serving bigger and was more accurate with his returned and took the break back to even up the set at 4-4.
Both men held to get into a second set tiebreaker. The first mini-break of the tie break went to Rosol to go up 5-3. Serving at 5-4, Rosol gave the break back when he netted a soft volley. A 125 mph serve gave him set point at 6-5 and a forehand winner by Nadal evened up at 6-6.
“Maybe if I lose that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe will be here with a lose,” Nadal said.
“But that’s the sport. That forehand was a perfect forehand for that moment. Is true that even if I was losing, I was fighting for every ball. I was fighting mentally, physically. Positive thing about tennis, I was able to find solutions through the whole match. At the same time my physical performance was different today than a few years ago”
Nadal’s strong serve forced a Rosol error to give him set point and a double fault gave Nadal the set 7-6(6) to even the match.
In the third set Nadal had three break points in Rosol’s second serving game which he failed to take advantage of. But with Rosol’s first serves losing their luster, Nada look advantage of another second serve to take the fourth break point for a 2-1 lead in the third.
Nadal held at love to extend his lead to 3-1. Nadal held the rest of the set to claim it 6-4. Nadal hit 16 winners in the set to Rosol’s 2.
Nadal continued his momentum by breaking Rosol at love to open the fourth set. He never relinquished the lead, but saved a break point as he was serving for the match.
“When I am playing the match today, I am not thinking about the match two years ago,” said the 28-year-old. “I am thinking what I have to do to win the next point in that match.
“What happened happened. That’s it. We already congratulate him for what happened two years ago.
“Today is another history, another story. I needed to find the solution. Finally I did. That’s the most important thing.
” I think I played with fantastic energy during the last three sets. Very positive. Very quick with my legs. You know, very quick mentally. I was returning great last three sets. I was able to have more breaks.
“But he was serving well, hitting the ball well. When I had the chance to touch the ball with the return, every return was in, and a good one. So I am very pleased the way that I played.”
Nadal hit 46 winners to just 11 unforced errors in the match, going 13 for 19 in points won at the net.
The No. 2 seed will play Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the third round on Saturday.
More to follow…