Two years after losing his second round match at the Wimbledon Championships to Lukas Rosol, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has finally snapped his two-match losing streak at SW19, only to set up yet another second round match with his 2012 vanquisher. At the time, Nadal’s loss to Rosol was a staggering upset for a former two-time champion at the event but he would get a chance for a small measure of revenge early in 2014, when he defeated Rosol in straight sets in Doha. Now with a 1-1 head-to-head record, the rubber match is likely to be the most anticipated match for Day 4 of the tournament.
While things appeared to be all too familiar for Rafael Nadal in his opening round match after dropping the first set to Martin Klizan, the Spaniard kept it together and recovered in sublime fashion to secure his spot in the second round of the tournament. Nadal hit fewer aces than Klizan (6 to 11) but surpassed him in the winners (36-35) and played a cleaner match with fewer unforced errors (25 to 32). Rafa’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory on Tuesday snapped a 3-match losing streak on grass and marked his first win at The Championships since 2012.
Rosol earned the rematch with Nadal following a four set win over Benoit Paire. The match, which ended 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, saw far more aces (19-7) fro Paire, as well as winners (53-50) and he even had a cleaner game with less unforced errors – yet ultimately he was unable to earn the victory over Rosol.
Nadal was beaten by Rosol 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 two years ago but he will now have an opportunity to prove to his avid fans that it was merely a fluke loss that coincided with a lingering knee injury. With a 1-1 record in the head-to-head series, this is a rubber match with remarkable implications on the draw, as Nadal, who is the reigning French Open champion, is faced with the toughest draw out of any of the top seeds at the event, and his exit would greatly open up the playing field. Now that Nadal has won a match on grass, his confidence boost may be the difference maker this time around.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Four Sets