LONDON Rafael Nadal has made a habit this week of giving himself a tough start and in Saturday's third round he again handed the first set to a lowly opponent before imposing himself at Wimbledon.
The French Open champion, still apparently finding his grass court feet after the long claycourt season, moved into the fourth round with a 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory over 63rd-ranked Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin.
Kukushkin, 26, had never won a game at Wimbledon before this year but, with little to lose against the world number one, came out guns blazing, using a big first serve and pounding forehand to keep the Spaniard at bay and win the first-set tiebreak.
But it did not last. As soon as Nadal found his returning rhythm and stepped in to punish Kukushkin's second serve it was one way traffic. The 14-times grand slam champion reached Wimbledon's second week for the first time since 2011 with a forehand winner.
(Reporting by Clare Lovell; editing by Ken Ferris)
Trending On Reuters
Sri Lanka's sports ministry said on Friday that an investigation had found evidence that members of the national women's cricket team had been forced to perform sexual favours for officials in order to earn or keep their places in the squad. Full Article