Sunday, 25 January 2015

Nadal into quarters over Anderson

Rafa Nadal made light work of Dudi Sela, at least for two sets, but his prospects against Kevin Anderson would not necessarily follow the same course.  Nadal would have to adjust his game to account for the big serve of the South African and ensure his own serve was up to scratch.

The concern over the Anderson delivery was justified in the first set as the 14th seed won an incredible percentage of points whenever he landed his first serve, or for that matter his second.  Rafa had to be patient and grab on to the slightest glitch.

The first sign of a problem was for Nadal in game five where a loose forehand gave break point to Anderson. Nadal saved it and proceeded to win the game with a better forehand which Anderson didn't touch.

Then it was serve dominated tennis until 5-5 when Nadal once more found drama, this time down 0-40. He somehow saved these three break points and two more, winning his way to 6-5 and expecting to be in a tie break moments later.

Anderson played one bad service game for the set and he timed the placement of that game in the worst possible fashion.  Nadal cashed in and broke to pinch a set 7-5 that was minutes earlier almost in Anderson's bag.

The crowd could almost feel how let down Anderson was and his tennis in set two reflected a beaten man.  His serve effectiveness was a shadow of its former self and he couldn't touch Nadal on the Spanish deliveries from the line.

The first five games all went to Rafa and Anderson was saved from a bagel embarrassment when he lifted his sorry frame over the line to score a game on serve for 1-5.

Nadal led 7-5 6-1 and the third set was really just to satisfy tournament conditions.

Being the professional he is, Anderson played much closer to his potential in set three but not well enough to trouble Nadal whose level remained top notch.  Again no break points against the Spanish star, and only a couple against the South African serve, but enough to see him broken in the third game.

Nadal rode that break through to the finish winning a quarter final spot 7-5 6-1 6-4.

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