[CR10] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR45] Jiri Vesely (CZE)
An early break in the first set was all that Nadal needed to win the set against Vesely. Nadal still appeared off his game; however, he was able to withstand the assault by the young Czech. Vesely used pace and finesse to keep Nadal off-balanced, pushing him to his limits, but Nadal held firm to win the first set. The second set seemed to be heading in the same direction, as once again Nadal got an early break. Unfortunately, these days, things are no longer as simple when it comes to Nadal. He struggles with leads more than before and was immediately broken back. His level is inconsistent, moments of brilliance followed by horrendous errors.
Almost at the moment Nadal starts to think too much, he loses the point. He failed to close out the match when he served two consecutive double faults to lose his serve. Prior to this period of mental struggle, Nadal never double faulted as much. Yet, Nadal is determined to fight through this trying time and he did so once again today. Although he won 6-4, 7-6(2), he will have to elevate his game and be more consistent against his next opponent, Pablo Cuevas. They met once, earlier this year, and Cuevas won the first set and had Nadal on the ropes in the second before he folded to lose the third at love. Expect this match to be another stern challenge for Nadal; however, I expect Nadal will prevail once again.