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By Erik Gudris | Thursday, June 26, 2014

 
Nadal Wimbledon Round Two

Though it felt like deja vu on Centre Court, Rafael Nadal brought everyone back to reality by defeating Lukas Rosol in four sets.

Photo Credit: Kieran Galvin / CameraSport

It felt like deja vu on Centre Court. But there was no repeat of 2012.

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That's because Rafael Nadal withstood a red hot start once again from Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic to advance into the third round of Wimbledon.

With Rosol having beaten Nadal two years ago in the same round on the same court, many wondered if lightening would strike twice. At least for a set and half, Rosol started recreating the exact same scenario with the same high intensity quick strike tennis that beat Nadal before.

At 4-all in the first set, Nadal found himself down 15-40 on his serve. Despite saving those two break points, several netted forehands from Nadal handed Rosol the break. Rosol wasted no time serving out the first set to love 6-4.

When a confident Rosol struck a sweeping crosscourt backhand to break Nadal again early in the second set, a repeat of the 2012 result looked indeed possible. How long could Rosol keep up this stellar form was the question everyone asked?

Not for long proved the answer. After a Nadal challenge reversed what looked like a Rosol ace, momentum shifted over to the No. 2 seed.

Nadal broke back for 4-all and soon both men found themselves in a must win tiebreak for the second set.

Though Rosol would jump out to a mini break lead and hold a set point, Nadal would respond. A well-place forehand from Nadal into the open court leveled the breaker at 6-all. Nadal would get a set point of his own. Perhaps feeling the pressure, Rosol double faulted and with that the match was tied.

Nadal, by keeping tighter to the baseline during his returns, soon found more opportunities on the Czech's serve. Nadal would claim an early break in the third set. Rosol, who at one stage complained to the umpire about Nadal's slower place between points, tried to play faster. That didn't really do much to dent Nadal who eventually closed out the third set with an ace.

Breaking Rosol at love to open the fourth set, Nadal appeared ready to close out the afternoon on his terms. With Rosol now looking a touch slower, the intense firepower he displayed earlier didn't come as easily to him as he might have hoped.

Serving up 5-4, Nadal faced one final bit of resistance from Rosol who managed to hold a break point. Nadal eclipsed that with a forehand winner. Nadal would need several match points before a big serve on the third one finally did the job.

With that, a relieved Nadal roared in celebration of the 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 win.

Here's what Nadal said afterwards about his performance.


Nadal will next face Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the third round.

 

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