Rafael Nadal vs. Botic Van De Zandschulp - Who leads ahead of Wimbledon duel?

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Rafael Nadal vs. Botic Van De Zandschulp - Who leads ahead of Wimbledon duel?

Rafael Nadal and Botic Van De Zandschulp are facing each other in Monday's fourth-round Wimbledon clash. Nadal is seeking the third Wimbledon crown and the first in 12 years. On the other hand, Van De Zandschulp is through into the second week at Majors for the second time in his career following the last year's US Open.

The Dutchman took advantage of a favorable draw and earned the opportunity to battle against the 22-time Major winner on Centre Court. Their only previous match came a few weeks ago in Paris, with Nadal scoring a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in the Roland Garros third round.

The Spaniard needed two hours and 11 minutes to seal the deal and remain on the title course. Rafa claimed 40 out of 46 points behind the first serve and got broken twice from three chances offered to his rival. Botic could not take advantage of them after losing almost half of the points behind the initial shot and suffering six breaks from the 12 chances given to Rafa.

Rafael Nadal and Botic Van De Zandschulp are the rivals at Wimbledon.

They forced a similar number of errors. Nadal made the difference with 25 winners and ten unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely, especially in the opening two sets.

Rafa built a massive lead in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, while Van De Zandschulp stayed in touch in the most prolonged rallies. The Dutch player placed a deep return in the opener's first game to grab an early lead.

The Spaniard responded in the same way in game two, breaking back at 15 and getting his name on the scoreboard. Both players served well in the next three games, and Rafa forged a 4-2 lead with a break in game six after a massive forehand error from his rival.

Nadal forced the rival's mistake with a mighty forehand in game seven and closed the opener with a service winner at 5-3 after 35 minutes. Rafa stormed over Botic in set number two, delivering one good hold after another and taking charge on the return.

He broke Van De Zandschulp in the third game with a cracking forehand down the line winner. He extended the advantage with another return game on his tally at 3-1 after a forehand crosscourt winner. Botic saved a set point on his serve in game seven before Rafa closed it with an ace in the next one for 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 14 minutes.

The Spaniard raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set before losing ground a bit. He allowed the opponent to reduce the deficit to 4-3 before landing a volley winner in game eight that kept him in front. Nadal served for the match in game ten and saved a break point with a service winner on the second serve.

Rafa sealed the deal with a smash winner for a place in the last 16. The Spaniard should be the favorite in their Wimbledon clash but will have to stay aggressive and move the rival away from the comfort zone.