He was sluggish in the return game and played a sloppy game for the first half of the match, but you shouldn't expect a repeat performance in his second-round matchup against Martin Klizan.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, his 19 lost games in the match equaled his total losses through four rounds last year:
In 1st-round win vs Daniel Brands, Rafael Nadal lost 19 games. He lost a total of 19 games in the 1st 4 rounds at last year's French Open.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 27, 2013
It's worth pointing out, however, that once Nadal got past the second set he kicked his game into "plaid" speed and dominated the action in the final two sets.
Brands clearly played a top-notch game, and Nadal's struggles can be easily attributed to first-round rust.
That said, there is one huge difference between Brands and Klizan that will help Nadal sail easily through this next match: Brands is a tall, right-handed player with a big serve, while Klizan is a lanky lefty who is more of a finesse player.
Brands kept Nadal off balance early on with his serve and finished the match with 10 aces and 51 winners, but in the end he fell victim to the best clay-court player in the world.
Klizan's lack of velocity on his serves will allow Nadal to return with more authority, setting himself up for break opportunities early and often. Furthermore, in his contest against Brands Nadal dialed in his own serve in the latter half, connecting on 94 percent of his first serves in the final two sets.
Nadal will ______ vs. Klizan.
These two aspects of his game will inevitably give Nadal a huge advantage over Klizan in Round 2, and a straight-sets victory will almost assuredly be the outcome.
Klizan made his way to the second round by way of Michael Russell's early retirement. He has won just six matches this season while losing 13, and he has a career winning percentage of 40.7 on clay.
This is going to be an easy win for Nadal after his first-round scare, and he'll likely cruise through to the quarterfinals without any issues.
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