French Open 2011: Rafael Nadal Struggles, Survives Second-Round Match

Candice Hare@@chare889Contributor IIIMay 26, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 26:  Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand during the men's singles round two match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Pablo Andujar of Spain on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In cold and breezy conditions, Rafael Nadal, the top seed in the men's draw, looked to be cruising to victory after winning the first two sets 7-5, 6-3 against his countryman, Pablo Andujar.

In the third set though, everything changed.

Not only did Nadal's level of play drop significantly, as he consistently left balls short, Andujar seemed to dictate play.

As a result, Andujar surged to a 5-1 lead in the third and had a chance to serve for the set. The No. 1 player in the world was able to raise his game when it mattered, however, and he slowly clawed his way back to level the third set and take it to a tiebreak.

While Nadal clearly did not play his best tennis in the third set, Andujar looked physically spent as that set wore on. One must think losing eight set points in the third would have mentally tired him as well.

Unlike his match against John Isner, where he lost two tiebreaks, the top-ranked Spaniard played much better in the third-set tiebreaker against Andujar. He seemed calm as he played numerous long rallies against his countryman, which often left his opponent out of breath.

As a result, Nadal was untroubled in the third-set tiebreak, which he won 7-4.

As has been seen in the past at Roland Garros, Nadal had to win in spite of the fans, who clearly were not on his side. The five-time champion, who played against Andujar on the smaller Court Suzanne Lenglen, watched on as the crowd vehemently cheered on his countryman, and at times, booed him.

In the third round, Nadal will face Antonio Veic, a qualifier from Croatia, who defeated the No. 28-seeded Nikolay Davydenko in five sets.

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