Nadal never dropped a set
The defending French Open champion opened play at this year’s Roland Garros with quite the show. Rafael Nadal, the best clay player on the ATP tour, survived four set points and won a tiebreak to win his first round match. Despite 25 unforced errors and being broken twice, Nadal defeated 129th-ranked Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) in a comeback win following a third set rain delay that actually pushed the match into a second day.
While Nadal has won the Grand Slam clay tournament 10 times, there were moments it looked like he wouldn’t avoid an early exit this year. But the world No. 1 pulled out an ace and two winners in the third set stay alive and eventually close it out. Nadal hasn’t lost a set at the French Open since 2015 in the quarterfinals when Nadal Djokovic beat him.
In 2016, Rafa withdrew with a wrist injury after back-to-back wins, then returned to Paris in 2017 and dominated the tournament en route to the title.
Pella to switch up game plan
It was the same round, but not the same surface, that Guido Pella and Rafael Nadal last met. In March 2017, the Argentine faced Nadal for the first time at Indian Wells. Nadal was the superior southpaw in the match, winning 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 21 minutes. The Spaniard won 71 percent of his first serve points.
The 28-year-old Pella said he will look to switch up his playing style in the Round of 64 at this year’s French Open on Thursday. Pella won his opening round match against Joao Sousa in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, in just under two hours. Pella, ranked No. 78 in the world, hit 10 aces and 28 winners, including 81 percent of his first serve points, to advance out of the Round of 128. The Argentine, who wasn’t broken once in his first match at Roland Garros, is 12-12 this season on the ATP Tour with no titles.
But Nadal, who is going for his 11th title on at Roland Garros, said he expects it to be a difficult match.
Been there, done that
…he owns the surface like he was born to dominate it.
Rafael Nadal’s middle name isn’t Clay, but maybe it should be because he owns the surface like he was born to dominate it. Tuesday was his 80th win on the red clay of Roland Garros. Out of 82 matches.
Want more dominating clay stats about Nadal? He hasn’t ever lost in the French Open before the third round. Meanwhile, Pella has never seen the third round of any Grand Slam.
In case you haven’t gotten the memo yet, don’t bet against Rafael Nadal this early on clay.
Go with the Clay King
There’s little chance Nadal loses this match, let alone drops a set.