Rafa Nadal goes day by day at Roland Garros. He said it after beating Moutet in the second round and he will continue to think about it after dispatching Botic van de Zandschulp in the third (6-3, 6-2 and 6-4 in 2h11) and get into eighths. In Paris this year he does a job by objectives. One of them is not having to play more than three sets per match.
For now, he has succeeded. He will have to raise the level to continue with that cruising speed, a term that he likes, when he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16, who defeated Serbian Filip Krajinovic (7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) and 7-5 in three hours). The 21-year-old Canadian and number 9 in the world will be a more demanding test than that of Van de Zandschulp, the Dutchman of 26 and 29th, from whom more was expected. “I think it was my best match of the tournament for two and a half sets,” Rafa said. after harvesting your 86th win in three sets at the French Grand Slama figure with which he surpasses the rest of the tennis players with the most wins in the tournament, regardless of the number of sets (Djokovic (84), Federer (73) and Vilas (57)).
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Nadal has done what he had to do so far: pick up pace and mobility, serve well (23 points in a row between 2-1 in the first set and 3-1 in the second, and 87% won with first serves), put point his drive (21 forehand winners and only 13 unforced errors) and spend time on court, but without excessive wear. All without demanding too much effort from his battered left foot. He doesn’t want to talk about his physical condition, only about tennis, and he does it on the court, although he clearly has to take more steps to overcome an opponent like Auger-Aliassime, who is advised by his former coach who is also his uncle, Toni Nadal. It will be interesting and at the same time strange to see how he approaches the game to try to bring down his nephew. When Rafa and Felix met three years ago in Madrid (he won the manacorí by a double 6-3), Toni was not yet the Montreal tennis player’s coach.
Blur in the third set
Of this Friday’s game, which was witnessed in the Suzanne Lenglen stands by former soccer player and coach Zinedine Zidane, and actor Woody Harrelson, little to tell, beyond the fact that he had a bad start for Nadal, with a break against that he equalized immediately, and that from then on the Spaniard was much superior until a moment of confusion midway through the third set, when he won 4-0 and ball for 5-0, and lost three games in a row. “I felt a little nervous to close.” This is how he explained the small blur that he calmly arranged to remain undefeated before the fourth round in the tournament (53-0), excluding his retirement when he was going to play in the third against Marcel Granollers in 2016. He won’t be able to afford many on Sunday.
Roland Garros ATP Draw Results