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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, November 4, 2015

 
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal committed 20 fewer unforced errors powering past nemesis Lukas Rosol, 6-2, 6-2, to reach the BNP Paribas Masters Paris third round.

Photo credit: AP

Tournament tennis sometimes resembles reality TV when Rafael Nadal and Lukas Rosol share the stage.

A testy rivalry that's crackled with Rosol's seismic Wimbledon upset in their first meeting, spiking antipathy, dueling complaints, some stare-downs and a rousing comeback last week resumed again today in Paris.

This time, Nadal was in no mood for drama.

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Overwhelming in baseline rallies, Nadal played like a man enjoying every moment of his 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of his nemesis that spanned just 61 minutes.

It was Nadal's 12th win in his last 15 matches and sent him into a third-round meeting with either Dominic Thiem or 11th-seeded Kevin Anderson The latest episode in the ATP's version of reality resumed a week after Nadal rallied from a break down in the second set to subdue Rosol, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in a testy Basel clash that saw Rosol fail to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set.

There's no love lost or feigned friendliness when these two get together. Rosol detests the Spaniard's methodical pace of play, and Nadal views the Czech as a cranky competitor willing to use gamesmanship to advance his cause.

The chair umpire heard it from both sides in their last meeting. Nadal was annoyed by Rosol's habit of tapping the court with his racquet while in his return crouch. Rosol complained that Nadal was tardy returning from a changeover at one. The chair umpire did not agree with either man's gripes during that match.

Rosol struck the first shot before a ball was struck taking a second look at the opening coin toss amid the pre-match darkness.


Fast feet and an assertive attitude helped Nadal take charge from the start. He used the slider to serve wide on both sides at times to set up his crunching top spin forehand.

The seventh seed struck the ball more cleanly. Nadal made just seven errors, 20 fewer than Rosol, who struggled to time his opponent's topspin framing a few forehands.

Playing with purpose, Nadal made his rival work through a seven-and-a-half minute opening service game. Putting Rosol on his back foot, Nadal converted his fourth break point for a 2-0 lead. Saving a break point in the next game, Nadal thumped a forehand winner down the line for 3-0.

When Rosol gets it right, he can create short angles in the front court. A fine half volley helped Rosol stamp a love hold for 2-4. He celebrated bounding up and down behind the baseline in kangaroo hops, as Nadal often does in pre-match warm-ups, sending the signal he was ready to rebound.

Nadal responded tearing through eight of the next 10 games. When the former No. 1 throttled a forehand winner crosscourt to hold for 5-2, he had won 15 of the 19 baseline points.



A mis-hit forehand return fell in, Rosol shanked a forehand reply as Nadal rolled through the opener on the strength of his second break.

The lanky Czech hits his forehand flat, which can make it a dangerous weapon on low-bouncing surfaces. But he struggled to prescribe the right spin on that shot today causing unruly, and at times, self-destructive results. Under-hitting a short-angled forehand to face break point, Rosol bungled a forehand sitter bashing it wide to gift the break and a 3-1 second-set lead.

Changing up his serve patterns a bit, Nadal sliced a serve down the middle to set up a sweeping forehand down the line holding for 5-2.



Dragging one final forehand wide on the second match point, Rosol didn't expend much interest or energy on the post-match handshake while Nadal took a second look after beating his adversary for fourth time in a row.


 

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