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Nadal to face Del Potro in fourth round

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Originally published on: 25/06/11 17:10

In the battle of the lefties, Rafael Nadal, like a true champion, produced his best tennis when it was most needed to advance to the fourth round, defeating wild card Gilles Muller 7-6 7-6 6-0.

The match started yesterday but resumed today on No.1 court and the first set of today was, like the first, decided by a tiebreak, which Rafa took. The third set was plain sailing for the Spaniard, who wrapped up the match without the loss of another game. 

Rafa made 30 winners and only three unforced errors in the match, and he would have been pleased to have come through untested, having hurt his leg before the rain came yesterday, and he fell again today, but stressed: “This is not limiting my game. I can play without problems.”

He will meet Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round, who Nadal believes to be “one of the best players in the world,” who, when healthy, must be in the top five of the ranking. He will be a very tough opponent for me. I’m not lucky to play against del Potro in the Round of 16.”

Del Potro beat Gilles Simon 7-6 7-6 7-5, and he was hardly allowed to enjoy his win before he had to start talking about his next match against Rafa. “Well, against them, you should play unbelievable tennis.  You should play everything perfect, and then maybe you have a little chance. But I don’t know. Gonna be very tough for me. My first time in fourth round in Wimbledon. I want to treasure this moment.”

The two players are 5-3 in the head-to-head but Rafa has won the last two of their encounters at Madrid and Indian Wells. Del Potro won their 2009 encounter at the US Open 6-2 6-2 6-2. By Delpo’s own admission he does not think he is back to that level though. “We play this year in Indian Wells. He won really easy. I don’t know if I’m still far away from that level.”

If the match is scheduled for Centre Court, Del Potro knows what to expect as he has played on the show court before “Well, it’s a nice atmosphere. The fans are really nice. They will be cheering I think little more for Rafa than for me. But I will enjoy the match and trying to be a nice game for me and for the crowd, too.”

The Argentinean has played six days in a row so is looking forward to a lie in tomorrow followed by some practice because he is aware that “to play against Rafa, you need to be 100%.”

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