[CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR108] Lucas Pouille (FRA)
Nadal was not tested in his match today against Pouille. Pouille, a much better player, appeared paralyzed by nerves, perhaps giving too much respect to “the King of clay”; whatever the reason, he made it easy for Nadal to get to the next round. There were opportunities for Nadal to be aggressive; yet, he is still lacking in the confidence needed to consistently attack his shots. No one is perfect on the tennis court; however, the uncharacteristic errors from Nadal remains troubling. Playing like this, can Nadal win a ninth Monte-Carlo title or is it too early to make an accurate assessment of Nadal’s chances?
Is this a step in the right direction for Nadal? It was an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory that really does not tell much since his opponent was not at his best today. Nadal will have a much sterner test against his next opponent, perhaps then we will get a better sense of just where his game is. The question that many of his fans really want to ask though is how far will Nadal go at Roland Garros? Realistically, does he have enough time to elevate his game to the level that will be required to be competitive at the second major of the year? Only Nadal can answer these questions and his performance over the coming weeks will be closely followed by everyone.