Rafael Nadal is best known for eating trophies on a tennis court. Today, in a rare occurrence, the world No. 1 was fed a second set bagel in a second round clash with unheralded Lukas Lacko in Doha. Nadal, though, prevailed after the snack winning 7-6, 0-6, 6-3.
“Well, when I lost the serve for the second time in the second, I didn’t fight anymore, because I say, ‘well, we gonna rest a little bit now and try my best in the third’,” said Nadal.
Nadal added that he had been fighting a fever earlier in the week that drained his energy.
“I wasn’t physically 100%, no?” he said. “I had fever two days ago. Last night wasn’t perfect, too. So I felt less power than usual. I feel a little be tired for the moments, that’s what happened in the third.”
Still, Nadal rallied for some doubles play after the win by teaming with friend Marc Lopez to beat a local Qatari squad.
Earlier in the day Roger Federer also endured his share of struggles posting a tough 7-6, 7-5 win over his countryman Marco Chiudinelli.
“It was really difficult today, under the circumstances (of playing a good friend), and I’m happy the match is in the past and I can look forward,” said Federer who had to overcome a 4-1 second set deficit.
Tomorrow, Nadal will meet the uneven Ernests Gulbis in one quarterfinal. Nadal has won all three meetings with the Latvian. Federer plays the streaky Viktor Troicki. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is still alive and he meets Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. In the final quarter, Ivo Karlovic faces Nikolay Davydenko.
Andy Roddick and Marcos Baghadatis will meet in Brisbane later this evening. Both guys eased into the quarterfinals with Roddick taking down Alexander Dologopov and Baghdatis besting Lukas Kubot.
“It is good to play a Top 10 player like Andy, it will be a great match and it will be nice to see how I perform,” said Baghdatis who beat Roddick in their only previous Australian meeting at 2006 in Melbourne.
No. 4 seed Mardy Fish and No. 6 Feliciano Lopez were upset victims to Radek Stepanek and Kevin Anderson, respectively.
Top seed Robin Soderling will also be on court tomorrow against Michael Berrer.
Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych continues to play well in Chennai. Earlier today the Czech steamrolled Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-4 to book a Friday quarterfinal spot.
DOHA ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 6 JANUARY, 2011
CENTER COURT start 3:30 pm
 G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
 V Troicki (SRB) vs  R Federer (SUI)
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  E Gulbis (LAT)
 N Davydenko (RUS) vs I Karlovic (CRO)
BRISBANE ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 6 JANUARY, 2011
PAT RAFTER ARENA start 10:30 am
 M Bartoli (FRA) vs B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) – WTA
[Q] M Ebden (AUS) vs  D Istomin (UZB) – ATP
 R Soderling (SWE) vs M Berrer (GER) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
 M Baghdatis (CYP) vs  A Roddick (USA) – ATP
J Groth (AUS) vs A Petkovic (GER) – WTA
Also Check Out:
Davydenko Dumps Ailing Rafa, Meets Federer for Doha Title; Roddick, Soderling Nearing Brisbane Collision
Near Perfect Davydenko Foils Federer-Nadal Final in Doha
Nadal, Federer Cruise in 2011 Openers; Verdasco Vanquished in Brisbane
Federer v Nadal in Doha; Brisbane, Chennai, ATP Previews
Roddick Impressive; A Federer-Nadal Final Ahead in Doha?