'Rafael Nadal was really tight', says ATP star

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'Rafael Nadal was really tight', says ATP star

Show of strength by Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Indian Wells Master 1000. The 35-year-old Spaniard, after a painful comeback victory in the second round against Sebastian Korda, in which he recovered in the decisive set the disadvantage of 2-5, has imposed himself more easily against the 27-seeded Daniel Evans with a score of 7-5 6-3, obtaining the 17th victory of the season in as many games and reaching 400 career matches in the Masters 1000.

The Spaniard, down 2-4 in the first set, was able to get 8 of the following 9 games, closing the first set with a score of 7-5 and defending in the second the break obtained in the second game. In the round of 16 Nadal will face host Reilly Opelka, who eliminated 13th seed Denis Shapovalov in three sets (6-7 6-4 6-4).

At the end of the game Nadal analyzed his success and talked about his current level. The champion from Manacor, to the microphones of the journalists, said he was satisfied with the result obtained, despite a false start. “Evans is a player who, tactically, plays very well.

He uses his slice very well and then he is aggressive, changing the pace a lot in the points. I think it's a very positive win and I'm happy to have saved that difficult moment in the first set. I think my serve today was better than the previous match.

My feeling is like that, at least. I was able to get more wins with my forehand, something that wasn't working for me the other day."

Nadal will lock horns against big-serving Reilly Opelka

World No. 7 Andrey Rublev believes Rafael Nadal is the mentally strongest athlete in the history of sport.

"No one athlete in the history of sport is as [mentally] strong as Rafa," Rublev said. "In an individual sport you can struggle a lot mentally. If you fight with someone close on the morning of the match, you are disturbed, but you still need to play.

In a team sport, if you are not in a good mood, but your team is good and in the right mood, you don’t feel it. Rafa is the only one who manages it, doesn’t matter what happens outside the court. Somehow, he’s able to completely turn it off and just be in the moment.

He can do that even when he’s losing," Rublev continued. "In the first set [of the Australian Open final], he couldn’t put in even one ball. He was really tight. Then he’s losing two sets to love, and Daniil had opportunities in the third set at 0-40, He just swallowed and swallowed everything, not one word of complaint.

In the end, he was leading, serving for the match but couldn’t make it. Not one word of complaint. Then he won it! I have never seen something like this in my life."