For lack of edge, good is the marker. Go ahead. Rafael Nadal is not especially inspired by this takeoff from the dirt tour. In addition to the fall in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo, the two sets yielded in the first two appearances of this Godó are added, resolved to the bravas and with more hierarchy than arguments. If on Wednesday he had to sweat a lot more than expected to dismantle the 111th in the world, against Kei Nishikori he was forced to straighten out a dangerously oscillating afternoon, bloody because the Japanese, long lost and finally surrendered 6-0, 2- 6 and 6-2 (in 2h 19m), he found a crack and posed a tight spot.
However, Nadal managed to escape from the gap and got the ticket for the quarterfinals, in which the British Cameron Norrie (David Goffin retired) will be measured with a debit, the serve: he has given it 11 times in the last three commitments on sand. In that section, doubts persist. He has not yet refined and through that crack a couple of sleeves have already slipped, something that had never happened to him when he raised his 11 titles in Barcelona.
What was a blessing at first, Nishikori’s parsimony, then turned into a dagger back because Nadal got infected, lowered the piston and the Japanese re-engaged in the duel thanks to the anesthetized rhythm that the afternoon had acquired. The fluctuation was radical: one and the other, from top to bottom and vice versa. Without the need for bragging, the Spaniard aired the first set in half an hour and found a necessary oasis after the demanding premiere the day before, when Ilya Ivashka had not granted him a truce; however, what pointed to a banquet later turned into a cumbersome situation.
As happened the previous afternoon and last week in Monte Carlo, against Andrey Rublev, the Mallorcan ran aground with the service -38% with the seconds in the continuation- and the partial 7-0 in his favor, with a ball in his favor for 8-0, it went to an adverse 3-0. Another lack of temper. Nadal is not fine with the serve and his doubts rehabilitated the Japanese, meek and docile until he saw the field cleared and began to tangle. Scratched a first break and despite the fact that he was left with the desire for the second in the fourth game, when the Spaniard put out a couple of fires, he hunted him in the final stretch (5-2) and entered fully into a match that seemed to be one-way.
It seemed like it, but it was difficult for Nadal again to take the reins of the game. It turns out, in any case, that Nishikori is emotionally caught with tweezers, disoriented for a long time because his will and his body have taken independent paths, and to which the Spaniard hit him a couple of times with the door in his face, his revolt was in the nothing. Nadal aborted four options break in the first two games of the epilogue, and from then on he was able to breathe. Recovered the drive, and with him came again the good feelings of the start to settle the discussion, the ups and downs that do not interest. From top to bottom, from curve to curve, he dodged another mess to continue fueling confidence.