Rafael Nadal will look to put the ghosts of 2012 to rest, as the Spaniard has set up a meeting with Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the second round at Wimbledon, in what will be a rematch of their clash two years ago.
The 28-year-old came back from a set down to beat Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Centre Court on Tuesday afternoon, which was his 700th career win, and he will now face the man who beat him at the same stage in 2012.
Rosol won a five-set thriller on that occasion, which was completed under a closed roof and finished after 10pm, and he was ranked 100 at the time, 98 places lower than Nadal.
It had been over two years since the two-time champion at SW19 had won a match on grass, as his loss to Rosol was followed up by a first round exit at the hands of Belgian Steve Darcis in 2013. He was also knocked out in the second round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle by Jamaica’s Dustin Brown last week.
Rosol advanced to the second round by beating Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, and he completed his first win at a Grand Slam since reaching the second round of the French Open in 2013.
The 29-year-old was beaten in the third round after his famous victory over Nadal by German Philip Kohlschreiber, and he is yet to go beyond the third round of a major tournament in his career.
If the now world number 52 was to pull off another shock victory, it would prevent Nadal from reaching the last 32 of the tournament for a third consecutive year, and it would seriously harm his chances of holding on to his number one spot in the world rankings.
The Mallorca-born player is aiming to win his 14th Grand Slam title, and it has been four years since he won his last Wimbledon crown, where he beat world number six Tomas Berdych in the final.
Beating Klizan made him become just the 11th man in the Open Era to reach the landmark of 700 wins, and he is now just 13 wins behind Boris Becker in 10th on the all time list.
Should he win the tournament this year, then Nadal will become the second man in the Open Era to win the French Open-Wimbledon double on three occasions, as he managed to win his ninth French open title earlier this month.
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