Nadal in the Groove as he Powers on at the French Open
After being made to work hard in his opening match, Rafael Nadal flexed his muscles and powered into the third round of the French Open with a mauling of Guido Pella.
Simone Bollelli provided a potential template for others to try against the King of Clay when making Nadal dig deep to claim a straight-sets win in the first round.
Italian Bollelli played lights-out tennis, hitting the ball with immense power and targeting the lines. It ruffled Nadal’s feathers for a while, but the world number one found a way of getting over the line.
A high-risk strategy may be the only way to topple Nadal at his beloved Roland Garros, but in the second round Pella was not given any opportunity to fashion an upset.
It was a rare trip away from Court Philippe Chatrier for Nadal, but he found Court Suzanne Lenglen just as comfortable as he powered past his Argentinian opponent in a little over two hours.
World number 78 Pella attempted to follow the lead of Bollelli as he worked four break points in the opening game, but Nadal swatted them all away and it was one-way traffic from that point on.
Nadal reeled off nine straight games from the middle of the first set and it broke the resolve of his opponent.
The defending champion did not take his foot off the gas as he wrapped up an impressive 6-2 6-1 6-1 success.
“I played such a good match today, I am very happy with the way I played,” Nadal said, per the BBC.
Up next for Nadal is a meeting with Richard Gasquet, and he had kind words for his upcoming opponent.
“We have known each since 11 or 12 years old and grown up together, so it is going to be a great pleasure to play against him,” Nadal said.
The classy Frenchman is a canny operator, but on all known form Nadal will have far too much firepower and he should tee himself up for the second week.
The weather has been somewhat mixed in Paris so far, but the forecast is for it to improve as the tournament progresses and that would aid Nadal even more as he tends to get more action on the ball when it heats up.
There are one or two dangers who could test Nadal, but after his slight wobble in the first round he showed all his brilliance against Pella and demonstrated that he will extremely tough to stop in his bid for an 11th French Open title.