Tennis

Rafael Nadal collapses in the latter sets now becoming a norm for Spanish pro

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Rafael Nadal (Photo courtesy: Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons)

Rafael Nadal has disappointed the past two ATP seasons and 2016 has so far been the same disappointment for the Spanish pro.

Nadal, a former World No. 1 who is currently ranked just number five in the world, fell to World No. 27 Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in the semifinal round of the ATP tournament in Rio, Brazil last Saturday.

Nadal, who was the top seed in the 2016 Rio Open, led after a tiebreaker in the first set, 7-6 (6) but once again collapsed in the next two sets, 6-7 (3) 4-6. Cuevas went on to win the final of the 2016 Rio Open against Guido Pella, 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-4.

The loss to Cuevas is very similar to Nadal’s recent losses in previous tournaments.

In the semifinals of the 2016 Argentina Open against World No. 15 Dominic Thiem of Austria, Nadal had a great chance for a comeback win tying the match at two sets each, 4-6 6-4, but could not get the victory in the third set via a tiebreaker, 6-7 (4).

The year started badly for Nadal at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. At the 2016 Australian Open, he lost in the first round to compatriot Fernando Verdasco even after leading two sets to one, 6-7 (6) 6-4 6-3. However, Nadal collapsed in the final two sets, 6-7 (4) 2-6 to get eliminated very early in Melbourne.

What made it worse for Nadal is that the last two tournaments have been played on clay, the favorite surface for the nine-time French Open title.

Photo courtesy: Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

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