Nadal saves a “strange match” against the eccentric Kozlov

Rafa Nadal offered a new demonstration of his legendary mental strength to pull off a “slightly strange match”, as he himself described it, against Stefan KozlovAmerican born in Macedonia 24 years ago and 130th in the world, who had just beaten Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, totally cramped. The Spaniard did not lose focus against an eccentric player who competes at a very slow pace and who during the first set made first serves at 128 km/h and seconds at 90. In some moments he seemed to be injured, but he changed in the second set to avoid a double donut. Nadal won 6-0 and 6-3 in 76 minutes and will meet in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 in Acapulco this Thursdayearly Friday morning in Spain, to another North American, as in the two previous rounds, in this case Tommy Paul, who got rid of Serbian Dusan Lajovic (7-6 (6), 2-6 and 7-5).

“Kozlov is a player with a very different style from the rest, so you had to be very careful, because you think you are going to win several points in a row and if you play at his pace, it becomes difficult, since he controls a lot of background and is smart. I am happy to have won in two sets, because it is an important victory that allows me to have a new opportunity”, he analyzed Nadal, who knew his opponent, even though he had never faced him. They had shared trainingthe last one last Monday, minutes before the boy, a finalist in the junior tournaments in Australia and Wimbledon in 2014, with junior victories against Opelka, Rublev, Tiafoe, Tsitsipas and Zverev, among others, was told that he had to play as repechado before Dimitrov.

Good character Kozlov, who surprised the start with his parsimony and his high and soft balls, which forced Nadal to make an extra effort not to lose concentration and generate power in their impacts. In total he finished with 29 winners, a dozen of them shot near the net against an opponent who seemed to be stiff, but who He did not want to miss the opportunity to face one of the best tennis players of all time, the most brilliant in terms of Grand Slam titles (21).

blur and reaction

Rafa did his homework, he did not forgive in the first set and in the second he corrected the course when Kozlov took him out with an unexpected break after an unlikely volley that the number five in the world could not lift. It was Nadal’s only blot in this rare match which, frankly, shouldn’t have done him much good. But he had to be saved and he did it without problems or bad gestures and he already has 12 victories consecutive unbeaten streaks in the best season start of his career.

Results of the ATP 500 in Acapulco.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *