Rafael Nadal defeated Stan Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-2, on the second day of round-robin play at the ATP World Tour Finals tournament Monday evening at the O2 Arena.
In the first set with the score in favor of Nadal, 4-3, the Spaniard used his defensive prowess to force the break on his third chance of the game. Wawrinka was able to fight off a couple of break chances with thumping aces, but Nadal’s looping returns deep in the court were too tough to handle in the end.
After dropping serve and slamming his racket into the court, Wawrinka appeared to check out mentally. During the lapse, Nadal capitalized and took firm control of the match.
Wawrinka Starts Off Hot
In the first game of the match, Wawrinka took control quickly. The world number four laced a couple of balls, creating further opportunities for himself. In a quick three minutes, the Swiss broke Nadal to take a 1-0 lead.
It looked as if Wawrinka was going to follow his gameplan to success yet again. Coming into the match, the Swiss had won three of the past four matches against Nadal, including one in the Paris Masters just two weeks prior.
Nadal Bounces Back
Unfortunately for the Swiss, that’s as long as it would last. In the very next game, Nadal turned it around breaking back at love. He would follow it up with a quick hold to nudge back in front.
After trading holds over the course of the following games, Nadal captured another break, this time to put himself in the lead. The “one more shot” mentality was key for Nadal as he was able to cause several errors off the racket of Wawrinka just by getting the ball back.
Early in the second set, the Spaniard was down a break point chance at 30-40. At this point, Wawrinka who was trying to get himself back into the match, began bludgeoning forehands. It was to no avail though as Nadal lobbed a spectacular shot diagonally over Wawrinka’s head. The ball landed just inside the line in the back corner effectively crushing whatever hope Wawrinka had left.
Nadal Continues To Dominate
Defense was the key to success for Nadal as he continued to make headway in nearly every Wawrinka service game. The Swiss succumbed on serve and Nadal converted two break opportunities in the second set, before running away with victory.
Although, his offense was not to be pushed aside in this match. He was able to find the lines and the space across court on several occasions. The Mallorcan served at a solid 60 percent clip and won 71 percent of his first-serve points. He was also successful in 81 percent of the points that lasted between five and seven shots.
An uncomfortable statistic for Nadal will be the lack of conversion on break points. Throughout the match, Wawrinka saved 11 of the 15 break points he faced. In these situations, the serve of wide was extremely effective. The Swiss ripped 10 aces in the match, included eight in the second set alone.
With the victory, Nadal is tied at the top of the Ilie Nastase Group with Andy Murray as the Brit defeated David Ferrer earlier in the day. The two winners will face off in the first match on Wednesday, with Ferrer and Wawrinka playing the evening session.
On the other side of the draw, Roger Federer (1-0) and Novak Djokovic (1-0) will face off on Tuesday evening after Kei Nishikori (0-1) and Tomas Berdych play earlier (0-1). Check out how Murray, Federer and Djokovic advanced.
|5 Rafael Nadal||6||6|
|4 Stan Wawrinka||3||2|