Rafael Nadal and Botic Van De Zandschulp face off in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday. Nadal is aiming for his third Wimbledon crown and first in 12 years. On the other hand, Van De Zandschulp is in his second week at Majors for the second time in his career, following last year’s US Open.
The Dutchman capitalized on a favorable draw and earned an opportunity to battle the 22-time Major winner on center court. Their only previous match came in Paris a few weeks ago when Nadal scored a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in the third round of Roland Garros.
It took the Spaniard two hours and 11 minutes to seal the deal and remain on course for the title. Rafa took 40 points from 46 behind the first serve and was broken twice by three chances offered to his rival. Botic failed to capitalize after losing nearly half the points behind the initial shot and suffering six breaks from the 12 chances given to Rafa.
Rafael Nadal and Botic Van De Zandschulp are the rivals at Wimbledon.
They forced a similar number of errors. Nadal made the difference with 25 wins and ten unforced errors, taming his shots well, especially in the opening two sets.
Rafa built up a massive lead on the shortest and medium rallies, while Van De Zandschulp stayed in touch on the longest rallies. The Dutchman scored a whopping return in game one of the opening match and took an early lead.
The Spaniard reacted in the same way in the second game, breaking back at 15 and putting his name on the scoreboard. Both players served well in the next three games and Rafa extended a 4-2 lead with a break in game six after a massive forehand error from his rival.
Nadal forced the rival’s mistake with a powerful forehand in game seven, closing the opener with a service winner at 5-3 after 35 minutes. Rafa stormed over Botic in the second set, delivering good hold after good hold and taking the lead upon return.
He broke Van De Zandschulp in the third game with a crisp forehand down the line. He extended the lead with another second leg to his 3-1 record after a forehand crosscourt winner. Botic saved a set point on serve in game seven before Rafa finished it off with an ace in the next to go 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 14 minutes.
The Spaniard took a 4-0 lead in the third set before losing some ground. He allowed the opposition to reduce the deficit to 4-3 before landing a volley winner in game eight that kept him ahead. Nadal served for the match in game ten and secured a break point with a service winner on the second serve.
Rafa sealed the deal with a smash winner for a place in the last 16. The Spaniard should be the favorite in their clash at Wimbledon but needs to remain aggressive and push the rival out of their comfort zone.