Rafael Nadal has made it to round no. 3 of the ongoing BNP Paribas Open. He did that yesterday by beating Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic in a tough match by 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Nadal had an unbeaten record against Stepanek coming into this match and he somehow managed to maintain that record, but, he would know that his game wasn’t up to the level where it should have been.
The Spaniard was extremely poor on his serve at the start of the match and that resulted in him getting broken a couple of times in the first set. He improved in the following set though and with the help of one breakthrough which he got in 5th game, he won that set to level the proceedings.
The momentum was with Nadal at that stage and he begun the decider in style. He played some super shots in the first game and made his opponent lose his serve.
It seemed the early breakthrough would get Nadal going and it would not be possible to stop him, but, no, things turned around again and that too pretty soon. In the second game, the world no. 1 dropped his serve as well and the scores became 1-all.
The next 8 games went with the serve before Nadal had second breakthrough which took him ahead by 6-5. Now, just a serve hold was required for the Spanish champion to get through and he did it.
Stepanek should be hailed though for making the match entertaining. He was not given much of a chance by the experts and pundits, but, the way he fought was exemplary.
The match lasted for about one and half hours. Now, in the next round, Nadal will be up against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.