|Martin Klizan (SVK), 51||vs||Rafael Nadal (ESP), 1|
ScheduleTuesday, 24 June 2014 at 15:00 GMT / 16:00 UK / 20:30 IST
Martin Klizan, currently 51st on the ATP list is playing against Rafael Nadal, currently 1st in the rankings on Wimbledon’s first round match.
Rafa played at Halle prior to this tournament, and suffered a heavy defeat to Dustin Brown in straight sets in his first match. Nadal has been playing really poorly on grass courts for three years – his track record during that time consists of 4 losses and only 2 wins. The Spaniard has lost the first round match in last year’s tournament to Belgian Darcis, and two years ago he fell to Lukas Rosol in an epic 5-set-match in the second round.
Clearly, after Roland Garros’ victory, there isn’t enough “fuel” left for Nadal to compete at the highest level at Wimbledon. Will this tournament be different for Rafa?
Nadal is facing a torrid first week here. The draw really gave him tough opponents, beginning from the round one encounter with Klizan. In the second round he will face either Rosol, who beat him in the second round two years ago, or Paire, who is considered to be a very undesirable opponent for the top seeds at Grand Slam tournaments. If he survives them, he could face perhaps the best server on tour, Ivo Karlovic, in the third round, and after that he could face Richard Gasquet, who is very good on this surface.
Klizan, after a breakthrough in 2012 and a career high fourth round at US Open, had a bad 2013, and dropped out of the top 100 players. However, he has been playing better this year, suffering only 10 defeats so far, and he is ready to challenge Nadal in this match.
Klizan and Nadal played one match, in Roland Garros first round last year. The Slovak sensationally took the first set, and when he wasn’t able to make Nadal struggle for the points anymore, he slowly faded, and the Spaniard easily finished the match in four sets.
Klizan isn’t a particularly good player on grass courts. His record at Wimbledon is second round, so he only won one match in his career here, and he only won 4 out of 11 matches on this surface in his career.
However, he played with a lot top players on grass, such as Gasquet, Berdych and Roddick, so his score could have been better if he had the luck to avoid these players right on the start of his tournaments.
Klizan is a solid, high tempo player who is the best on the slow hard courts, but if he manages to stay focused and aggressive on Nadal’s service, he could do damage to the Spaniard and play an interesting match.
On the other hand, Nadal must be aggressive, and he mustn’t give the Slovak short balls which he could easily attack and draw his confidence from that.
Nadal leads the series by 1:0.
Considering all the facts, it is expected that Nadal drop one set to Klizan, but he should score a rather comfortable victory.