In February 2005, Rafael Nadal faced Ricardo Mello for two and a half hours on his way to the Costa do Sauipe title. Half a year later, the Spaniard would lose three games against the Brazilian in the second round of the Canadian Masters, in Montreal, to secure a place in the third round.
A lot had happened between those two meetings, with Nadal becoming one of the best players in the world after a fantastic run in his first notable season. In February, Rafa won two ATP titles on clay before reaching the final in Miami and winning the first Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo.
The youngster conquered Barcelona and Rome in the weeks that followed and made a flawless debut at Roland Garros, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to lift the first Major trophy. Rafa didn’t play well on grass, losing early at Halle and Wimbledon to lose some of his steam.
However, he bounced back quickly, winning titles in Bastad and Stuttgart in July and taking a break before Montreal. Playing for the first time as world number 2, Nadal opened with victory in the Canadian Masters thanks to a 6-3, 6-7 and 6-3 victory over his compatriot and friend, Carlos Moyá.
In the second round, the youngster had a more relaxed day in the office, defeating Ricardo Mello 6-1 6-2 in 66 minutes after dominating from start to finish. The Spaniard gave up 11 points in eight service games, did not face any break points and converted 56% of return points to earn four breaks from seven chances and navigate to the round of 16.
Talking about his game on hard courts, Nadal mentioned the improvements compared to the previous season, listing his good results and expecting an outstanding performance in Montreal. “Grosjean is my next opponent, and it should be a tough match; he is an excellent player.
I will try to do my best and reach the quarters, which would be a great result for me in the hard court Masters 1000″, said Rafael Nadal.
Rafa will miss the Dubai Open
Rafael Nadal‘s incredible Top-10 run is nearing its end in the coming weeks, feels leading tennis coach and commentator Brad Gilbert.
“He’s going to be in a different position in the draw,” Gilbert continued. “But first and foremost, you just want to see him healthy. If he’s going to be healthy and he’s going to be seeded 11th or 12th in these tournaments, that’s going to be a tough draw for somebody. That’s all I hope for. If he’s healthy, he’s going to win matches and be right,” he added.