WORLD No1 Rafael Nadal believes he is in a strong position to win his third Wimbledon crown – and first in four years – after overcoming an early wobble against Lukas Rosol on Centre Court yesterday.
On a “crazy day” at Wimbledon, as No13 seed Eugenie Bouchard described it, three of the top men’s seeds suffered elimination in five-set matches, while big-serving American John Isner won the second longest tie-break ever at Wimbledon on his way to victory.
Nadal has reached the last three grand slam finals following a mesmeric comeback from a career-threatening knee injury and is ready to go all the way once more having beaten Rosol 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round at SW19 for the first time since 2011.
“It’s the best level I played on grass since a long time ago, the last three sets. That’s very important news for me,” said the 28-year-old.
“I played with fantastic energy during the last three sets. I am very happy with the way I played.”
Ambitious Australian wildcard Nick Kyrgios has his sights set on Nadal’s world No1 status though, following a sensational five-set victory over No13 seed Richard Gasquet in which he successfully defended nine match points – the most in a single’s contest at Wimbledon since 1966.
The 19-year-old came from two sets down to triumph 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 and said: “It is my biggest career win. So I’m going to take a lot of confidence out of me moving forward. My goal is to become the No1 player in the world.”
Germany’s Phillip Kohlschreiber, seeded 22nd, lost to world No132 Simone Bolleli, while 6ft 6in Jiri Vesely beat No24 seed Gael Monfils.
Seven-time champion Roger Federer breezed past Gilles Muller under the Centre Court roof, while compatriot Stan Wawrinka won in four sets.
France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved a match point on his way to a 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 14-12 win against Sam Querrey, while top-10 seeds Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori also reached round three.