Rafael Nadal‘s straight forward first week should continue in Paris on Friday when he takes on Stefano Travaglia for a spot in the fourth round of the tournament. With potential foes in John Isner and Fabio Fognini out already in his quarter of the draw, he will instead be up against a qualifier assuming he advances from this one.
While solidly a top 100 player for the past year, Travaglia has never really shown any signs of a late rush up the rankings as he nears his 30s. He is a bit more aggressive than your average Italian player but like so many, inconsistency remains an issue. He beat a veteran in Pablo Andujar in round one before picking up one of the best wins of his career against Kei Nishikori in round two.
If Nadal does hate the conditions this week, he hasn’t shown it much yet with his performances so far. He crushed Mackenzie McDonald 6-1 6-0 6-3 in round two and was imperious on serve, not gifting the American a single break opportunity while taking seven on return. “I am just trying my best every single day. I am working hard in every practice to try to be better and better in every match,” Nadal said. “Today was not that cold, so that’s the main thing. Not that cold, the conditions are not that bad.”
It will be a brand new experience for Travaglia, who faces a Top 5 player for the first time. It will be an unforgettable experience for the Italian if nothing else but an in-form Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is just about the toughest opponent anyone can face in tennis. It should just be a matter of how long it takes for Nadal, who shouldn’t face a difficult matchup until likely Dominic Thiem in a potential semi final.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets