Nerves tested, but Nadal gets his revenge
Spaniard steadies after almost going two sets down to Rosol, his shock victor two years ago
Rafael Nadal was a point away from falling behind by two sets before rallying yesterday to beat Lukas Rosol, the Czech player who knocked him out at Wimbledon in the same round and on the same court two years ago.
The world No 1, a two-time Wimbledon champion, responded just in time to avoid falling into a deep hole, rallying for a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4 win on Centre Court to advance to the third round.
Hard-hitting Rosol could have gone up two sets to love when he had a set point in the second-set tiebreaker. But Nadal saved it with a forehand winner and Rosol double-faulted two points later to give the Spaniard the set.
That turnaround gave Nadal the momentum and he dominated play the rest of the way.
"I just wanted to keep fighting and wait for my moment; I tried to keep fighting and waited for my moment," said Nadal, who dropped the first set for the second time in two matches at this year's Wimbledon.
"I saved a set point in the tiebreaker which was very important because to be two sets down to a big server like Rosol would have been very dangerous."
Earlier, Japanese 10th seed Kei Nishikori continued what he called the perfect start to his Wimbledon campaign, moving into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of American qualifier Denis Kudla.
Nishikori has not gone past the third round at the All England Club in five attempts, but the world No 12 looks a good bet to end that frustrating run this year.
He was far too strong for Kudla, hitting 40 winners to just 14 from the world No 136, and hasn't dropped a set in his opening two matches.
The 24-year-old will meet Simone Bolelli for a place in the last 16, after the Italian world No 132 surprised Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber
"It's been almost perfect first and second rounds for me," Nishikori said. "This year after the clay court season I gained more confidence. My tennis is changing, more consistent, and everything is going well."
Nishikori, whose best run at a grand slam came in 2012 when he reached the Australian Open quarter-finals, appears to be reaping dividends from his pre-Wimbledon grasscourt practice sessions with coach Michael Chang. Following some intense training with the former French Open champion, Nishikori reached the Halle semi-finals.
Serena Williams handed South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers a masterclass as the five-time champion raced through their second-round match to win 6-1, 6-1 victory.
The world No 1 was ruthless against Scheepers, crushing her in 49 minutes to set up a last 32 meeting with French 25th seed Alize Cornet.
Also in the women's, 11th seed Anan Ivanovic of Serbia defeated China's No 4, Zheng Jie, 6-4, 6-0.
The upset of the day came from Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios, who staged a stunning comeback to beat French 13th seed Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8.
Roared on by a sizeable Australian contingent on Court Two, the 19-year-old wildcard scored the biggest win of his career with his 21st ace of a thrilling match that lasted nearly four hours.
Associated Press, Agence France-Presse