[CR3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR64] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA
There was early evidence that Nadal is still fighting an internal battle with doubts. He went up a break twice in the first set, only to immediately lose his serve each time, unable to consolidate the break. This is not something we are used to seeing from Nadal, especially on clay. Doubly disconcerting is his continual inability to put away easy shots. To frustrate him even more, his shots lacked depth and pace, making it easy for Bellucci to pounce. He was finally able to consolidate the break on the third try, but his struggles with confidence remain apparent for any discerning observer to notice.
He started to trust his game after he won the first set and quickly ended any hopes Bellucci had of making this a contest. Nadal was in complete control of the second set and looked like the Rafa of old. He started to execute his shots with more conviction, adding depth and pace, thereby preventing Bellucci from attacking his shots. Hopefully, clay will help Nadal to regain his belief in his ability and as we know from past experience, a confident Nadal is a dangerous opponent on other surfaces. He won the match 6-4, 6-1.