• Nadal back in action, faces Lacko in Halle

    6/14/12 12:47 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal back in action, faces Lacko in Halle Rafael Nadal will take the court three days after winning the French Open when he goes up against Lukas Lacko on Thursday in Halle. The two competitors are battling for a spot in the quarterfinals.

    There is no rest for Rafael Nadal as he plays his Wimbledon tune-up this week at the Gerry Weber Open. Nadal, who captured his seventh French Open title by holding off Novak Djokovic on Monday, will contest his grass-court opener against Lukas Lacko in the Halle second round on Thursday.

    Lacko has had three career shots at Nadal, and not surprisingly none has gone his way. However, the underdog put up a stern test early last season in Doha before going down 7-6(3), 0-6, 6-3. They have faced each other twice at the Australian Open, with Nadal rolling 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in 2010 and 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in 2012.

    A decent 10-9 at the ATP level this year, Lacko has already made the transition from clay to grass. The 58th-ranked Slovak got a terrible draw at Roland Garros and lost to David Ferrer in the first round, but that gave him time to enter a grass-court Challenger event. Lacko reached the quarterfinals in Nottingham then beat Konstantin Kravchuk 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in his Halle opener on Tuesday.

    Nadal is an outstanding 40-4 for his 2012 campaign. The second-ranked Spaniard won two of the three clay-court Masters events (Monte-Carlo and Rome) then rolled through the French Open draw without losing a set before surrendering one to Djokovic in the final. Two days later Nadal was back on the court for doubles on Wednesday, teaming up with countryman Marcel Granollers to beat Viktor Troicki and Michal Mertinak 5-7, 6-2, 10-8.

    "The real thing for me is more preparation for the singles tomorrow, to compete, to spend time on the court, to serve a bit, to adapt to the conditions on grass," Nadal explained. "That’s probably going to help."

    Lacko possesses a big game with a flat serve that can be dangerous on fast surfaces. Nadal may have some trouble, but once he gets going this should be a rout.

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Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 6/14/12 8:11 AM

I just need to add that when Rafa played Lacko in Doha Rafa had the flu and nearly didn't go on court, he was sweating buckets Nevertheless, Lacko has a big serve and good ground strokes so not an easy opponent by any means.

nadline , 6/14/12 8:14 AM

Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 6/14/12 3:42 PM

Wasnt able to watch but have just seen final score. Can anyone report how was Rafa on grass? He looked a bit knackered during the on court interview.

ed251137 , 6/14/12 5:37 PM

Very nice first singles match on grass from our Rafa! Serving very well...a few more UEs than Rafa may have wanted but that is expected...overall, Rafa makes a fine transition from his favorite clay...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 6/14/12 5:42 PM

If I were him I would be knackered!!!

Vamos Rafa, and I hope you continue to be in good form to win your next Wimby title!!!!

Monalysa , 6/14/12 5:43 PM

Rafa made a few too many UEs in the first set but that's not to take anything from Lacko who has a fearsome serve. Rafa broke first to lead 3:2 then Lacko broke straight back. Rafa wrapped up the 1st set after Lacko saved 4 set points. In the 2nd set, Rafa had found his range and took it rather easily.

Yesterday he looked full of beans in the doubles when they beat Troicki and his partner whose name escapes me.

nadline , 6/14/12 5:55 PM

I'm hoping he doesn't push himself too hard in this tourney. Just enough to get in some practice on grass. I know he managed the RG/Queens/Wimby hat-trick in 2008 but that was four years ago. He needs to pace himself now for the Olympics.

ed251137 , 6/14/12 6:18 PM

I woke up in time to see the replay of Rafa's match with Lacko. I thought that Rafa was getting the feel of the grass in that first set. A lot of UE's, but that is to be expected in a first match. Lacko does have a big serve and can hit some big shots. He was playing well in that first set.

However, Rafa turned on the afterburners in the second set. He played much better, great depth on his shots, good serving and aggressive tennis. He looked very good closing it out quickly.

I truly hope that Rafa doesn't use up too much energy playing both singles and doubles here. He doesn't need to win this, only get good preparation for Wimbledon. That is the big prize.

Nativenewyorker , 6/14/12 11:09 PM

That DDLBH to go 4-0 up the 2nd set was the best I've seen from him this year!

Shireling , 6/15/12 11:40 AM

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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