[CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR19] John Isner (USA)
It was going to be a difficult match for Nadal, for two reasons: Isner has been feeling much more confident about his tennis of late and as a result, playing much better; and Nadal has not. Although Nadal has never lost to Isner, this was a totally different scenario; he has never faced Isner feeling so vulnerable. Even when he was confident, Nadal has always had to battle hard to defeat Isner, so today was going to be a big test for him. Lose the match and he could unravel, win the match and maybe he begins to believe in his ability to compete with the top ten players.
Isner will always be a threat to any player when he is serving well, so Nadal had to stay focused and capitalize on the opportunities when they presented. The first set, not surprisingly would go to a tiebreaker, won by Nadal; he lost the second set. Would Nadal show the determination he is well-known for and find a way to win? Nadal is a champion, despite his shabby performance of late and is still a force to be reckoned with on clay. He took another step in the positive direction when he found a way to break Isner and won the match 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3. However, it does not get any easier, his next opponent could be David Ferrer who beat him last year at this tournament; or Gilles Simon, an opponent that on clay can be a potential problem.