FIGHT­BACK AF­TER

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RAFA Nadal cel­e­brated his 1,000th tour level match with a come-from-be­hind vic­tory over Ger­man vet­eran Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the fourth round of the Mi­ami Open on Sun­day.

World No 31 Kohlschreiber was on fire early, rip­ping through the first set in only 21 min­utes but fifth seed Nadal flipped the switch and turned the match on its head to pre­vail 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 on the main sta­dium hard court at Cran­don Park.

It was the first time Nadal had failed to win a game in the first set of an ATP tour match since 2008, the ATP said.

The 30-year-old Spa­niard ig­nited the near-ca­pac­ity crowd with a typ­i­cally de­ter­mined come­back to clinch his 822nd ca­reer vic­tory.

He joins a small group of 11 play­ers headed by Jimmy Con­nors (1,535) to have played at least 1,000 matches.

“One thou­sand matches is a lot of matches. Ob­vi­ously that’s good news be­cause that says I am hav­ing a long ca­reer,” Nadal told reporters.

“Dur­ing a lot of years, I heard that I’m go­ing to have a short ca­reer, so it’s some­thing im­por­tant for me. I re­mem­ber the first match very well be­cause it was at home in Mal­lorca. It was my first vic­tory on the ATP and was a great feel­ing.”

Nadal said he had not done much wrong in the first set against an op­po­nent who was in the zone.

“He was do­ing ev­ery­thing good, so that’s sport. I lose the set be­cause he was play­ing too good. That’s it.

“But a match is long and the pos­i­tive thing is I held the pres­sure well this af­ter­noon af­ter a very tough first set.

“I re­sisted well in the first few games of the sec­ond set and then I think I played a great sec­ond and third set.”

Reuters

EPA PIC

Rafael Nadal plays a re­turn against Philipp Kohlschreiber dur­ing

their third round match at the Mi­ami

Open on Sun­day.

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