Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs.  Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP)
It was their first meeting and the younger Spaniard offered up enough resistance to break Nadal twice and win four games in both sets. Was it a case of the younger player playing brilliant tennis, or was Nadal not at his best?
It was a combination of both; Carballes Baena came out swinging, he was not intimidated by the greatest player on clay and proved that when he broke Nadal in his first service game. In contrast, Nadal showed signs of fatigue and did not play at his best. Was he feeling the pressure? Not only does he have to win this tournament to stay at number one, he was playing to make more history.
While Nadal may not be as concerned about retaining his number one ranking, he is definitely concerned about defending his title and that was probably the cause of his less than brilliant play today.
Nadal took the early break in the second set and seemed to take control of the match; however, the younger Spaniard continued to prove that he could hang with Nadal. With the king of clay playing a little tentatively, there were more errors in his game and his forehand went awry to cost him the lead in the sixth game. Yet, Nadal never appeared troubled by the prospect of losing this match and he immediately broke back just as he had done in the first set.
Carballes Baena played brilliant tennis. He exposed Nadal’s forehand vulnerability by going down the line to his forehand with pace with his two-handed backhand and made Nadal work hard to earn the 6-4, 6-4 victory. With these two sets won today Nadal made more history; he now owns the longest streak of most consecutive sets won on clay (38).
SOURCE OF IMAGE: serveandrally