Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I forced Cameron Norrie to play an extra ball'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 6720
Rafael Nadal advanced to the fourth round at Roland in June for the 16th time in 17 trips to Paris thanks to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over the Briton Cameron Norrie in two hours and seven minutes. Rafa celebrated his 103rd Roland Garros victory from 105 matches to remain on the title course, losing serve twice in a row in the second set and erasing the deficit quickly to seal the deal in straight sets.
The Spaniard played well on the return and took almost half of the points in Cameron's games to seize six breaks from 12 opportunities and control the scoreboard. Nadal made a strong start, hitting 13 winners and 11 unforced errors in the opener and dropping four points behind the initial shot to keep the pressure on the other side.
From 30-0 down in the first game, Rafa grabbed four straight points and closed it with a forehand winner. In the third game, the Spaniard fired another forehand down the line winner to remain in front before the Briton leveled the score at 2-2.
Nadal held at love in game five and broke his opponent after Norrie's forehand mistake that pushed him 4-2 up. In game seven, Rafa confirmed the advantage with a forehand winner and held at love at 5-3 with a service winner to wrap up the opener.
Norrie grabbed two breaks in the second set, which was not enough for a positive result, as Nadal stole 62% of the return points and stole the opponent's serve four times that kept him in charge. The Briton secured a break in game two after forcing the Spaniard's forehand error and stayed in front only for a couple of minutes, as Rafa broke back with a forehand winner.
Returning well in those moments, Norrie earned another break in game four with a backhand down the line winner, hitting well but failing to make an extra step and cement the lead.
Rafael Nadal shared thoughts about his Parisian victory over Cameron Norrie.
Nadal broke back again, held at 15 in games six and eight and stole Norrie's serve at 3-3 to move in front.
Returning at 5-3, Rafa placed a perfect backhand crosscourt winner to secure another break and a set after 80 minutes, looking good to seal the deal in the third. The Spaniard held at love at 1-1 and landed an incredible forehand crosscourt winner in the next one to open a 3-1 gap and move closer to the finish line.
Cameron saved a break point in game six and a match point at 2-5 before Rafa sealed the deal on his serve at 5-3 with a forehand winner for a place in the last 16. "Today, I faced a great player who has had an excellent season.
I went on the court knowing it could be a tough match, and for moments it was. I'm happy to win in straight sets, and I think I did what I had to do. For moments, I played well, especially in the opening set. I still have to improve some elements, but it has been so far so good for me.
You can not expect an easy opponent out there. I do not think I was returning unbelievable against Cameron; it was o.k. But then I was solid from the baseline and forced him always to play an extra ball," Rafael Nadal said.