Swiss Indoors Basel, Switzerland
[CR3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) played a much more Rafa-like match today against [CR120] Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA). Nadal struck the ball with authority, moved more freely and was mentally more alert. Herbert was left pounding his head with his racquet in frustration as he made error after error.
Herbert has a big serve and once he learns how to consistently place it in the service box, it will be a weapon. He also has a powerful forehand; however, his game has to mature, then he will recognize when to go for his shots and how to adapt during the match when his original game plan is not working. Like so many inexperienced young players, he opted to terminate points quickly with pace instead of patiently working the point.
Nadal was a more confident player today, with confidence came better court position and more force behind his shots. He was focused and controlled the match from the third game; although he briefly doubted and got distracted serving out the match, Nadal quickly refocused and smoothly finished off his opponent 6-1, 6-1.