It hasn’t been a good 3-4 days for Rafael Nadal. After a promising start a week ago in Chile, Nadal lost in the singles and doubles finals on Sunday, then proceeded to torch several ATP policies and last night the former No. 1 took shots at the Sao Paulo court conditions.
Teaming with David Nalbandian, Nadal won his first round doubles Tuesday saving two matchpoints, but earlier today the duo withdrew from their quarterfinal match scheduled for later tonight. The reason: “overuse” of Nadal’s knees. Oh boy.
Also playing a role could be the poor playing conditions at the event, a problem pointed out by Rafa and echoed by several other players including Nalbandian.
Nadal remains in the singles for now, he’ll face Joao Souza tomorrow. If the courts don’t improve he could might not be around much longer.
Speaking of Nalbandian, the oft-injured Argentine was back in singles competition today for the first time since August and he came through with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 first round win over qualifier Jorge Aguilar.
Meanwhile in Europe, things began comfortably for two-time tournament winner Roger Federer at Rotterdam. The defending champ pounded Grega Zmelja 6-3, 6-1.
“I thought the ball flew a little bit more today than in practice. Overall, I felt I’m moving and striking the ball ok,” said Federer. “It took some time getting used to seeing the ball well again. I was happy with the way I reacted.”
The top seeded Federer plays local Thiemo De Bakker tomorrow. If he wins Federer will meet Juliean Benneteau in the Friday quarterfinals, then perhaps Gilles Simon in the semis. Lurking in the bottom half of the draw are Juan Martin Del Potro and the red hot Richard Gasquet.
JW Tsonga stumbled out earlier in the week after a very poor loss to Dutchman Igor Sisling.
It’s a big week for the WTA in Dubai. With all the oil money available, 14 of the Top 15 turned up for the lucrative event. Tomorrow in third round play World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka meets Christina McHale, Serena faces the other Radwanska while her sister, Agenieszka, takes on Ana Ivanovic. Maria Sharapova, Sam Stosur, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki are also in action.
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