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Rafael Nadal knows the problems that Wimbledon poses in the first week. Every single player that steps onto the grass courts, especially against the big names, is looking to make a name for himself.
Karen Khachanov will be the one looking to pick up the biggest scalp of his career so far, when he plays Nadal in the third round at Wimbledon 2017 on Friday.
Nadal, who has had too many early exits over the past few years at the All England Club, has negotiated the first two rounds pretty well, with no signs of nervousness or injury surfacing.
Nadal’s recent struggles at the All England Club have been well-documented, as a combination of injuries and loss of confidence have prevented the two-time champion from making a significant impact at SW19 in the last half-decade, but the early signs suggest that the Spaniard may be primed to make another deep run in 2017.
He has looked supremely fit, and brimming with confidence in getting past John Millman and Donald Young in the opening two rounds.
Nadal has been particularly aggressive this year, unwilling to retreat, stepping in and taking on the ball, and moving forward at every opportunity. The two-rime champion is a combined 43 of 57 at the net so far at Wimbledon 2017.
After dismissing Millman in the opening round, Nadal surgically took down Young in the second round, with the only hiccup coming towards the end when the great Spaniard was broken while serving for the match. The 31-year-old broke in the opening games in the first two sets, and controlled the sets from there. Young put up better resistance in the third set, but the inevitable break arrived in the seventh game. To his credit, the American took advantage of a rare dip in level from Nadal to break back for 5-5, but the Spaniard simply reset and got his break back. He wasn’t going to miss out on a second opportunity to serve out the contest, closing it out to love.
Apart from gunning for a third Wimbledon title, Nadal has also got an excellent shot at leaving Wimbledon with the number one ranking. Should he reach the final, he will rise above Andy Murray to yet again occupy the zenith of the men’s game. The ever-cautious Spaniard is naturally not as excited as everyone else.