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The incredible Rafael Nadal is looking every bit a champion on his 8th visit to Roland Garros, as the 6-time Champions stayed very much on course for title no.7 with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Denis Istomin in his second round match on Thursday. While his peers encountered some trouble in the first two rounds, Nadal needed just 110 minutes to power his way into the next round. Impeccable serving and some big forehand winners helped Nadal record an impressive win. The first two sets saw some interesting rallies, but Nadal completely dominated Istomin in the final set.
Rafa started off things in usual fashion by storming away with the first set. Nadal had two breakpoints as early as the third game and wasted no time to go up 2-1 in the set. This was followed by another break in the seventh game before Rafa served out the set. Istomin served well under pressure to keep Nadal at bay but the Spaniard dominated the rallies. The 43rd ranked Istomin deserves credit for playing some stunning rallies but Rafa continually got the better of him. The Uzbek had a strong and compact backhand but relied too much on it to win points and Nadal found ways to pick him off his forehand. Nadal's first serve was near perfect throughout the set.
In the second set, Istomin won his initial service games more convincingly before succumbing to a perfectly placed forehand by Nadal in the fifth game. Istomin tried to break back in the very next game but Rafa held his serve to maintain a 4-2 lead. Some terrific hitting from the back of the court earned him another break in the seventh game before he closed out set no.2. The set lasted for 48mins as the first five games were closely fought. The scores tell a different story but there were quite a few long and thrilling rallies played between the two.
The defending champion completely crushed the Uzbek in the third set and got his first bagel at the Roland Garros this year. With three easy breaks, Nadal closed out the set in 26 mins.
On clay, Rafa is a painful opponent and the pain was clearly visible on Istomin's face. Nadal played a perfect match and won it with near perfect scores. He was given just enough of a work out by Istomin and will relish the prospect of taking on the winner of the match between 32nd seed Florian Mayer and Eduardo Schwank in the third round.
Earlier in the day, Andy Murray recovered from some terrible back spasms to battle back from a set down to beat Jarkko Nieminen, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer also booked their respective places in round 3. (read more)
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