RAFAEL NADAL pumped his fists and let out a guttural roar as he avenged one of the biggest shocks of his career.
The way he celebrated you’d have thought he’d won the title but Nadal doesn’t forget and, for a while, it appeared that a horrible history was repeating for him on Centre Court.
Two years ago big-serving Czech Lukas Rosol ended Nadal’s All England Club hopes at the same stage and, fleetingly yesterday, he seemed to have the Spaniard’s number.
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Rosol is probably politely described as a journeyman, he is ranked outside the world’s top 50 and has yet to reach the second week of a Grand Slam tournament and is famed for being somewhat erratic.
But against Nadal he morphs into a world-beater, though the Spaniard survived this slugfest coming from a set and a break down to progress to the third round 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal looked far from fluent in his first round match with Martin Klizan and this was another stuttering show, with the effects of his recent run to a ninth French Open title in ten years clearly evident.
“I never play for revenge,” he insisted. “Every match is a different match. I had to win - my goal is not Rosol, it’s to play as well as I can in the tournament. It doesn’t matter if it’s Rosol or another player who has beaten me in the past.
“I had to wait for my moment, try to find my moment. I made a few mistakes in the first set but for the rest I feel I was playing good.
“The break back was very important and saving a set point in the tiebreak was very important, playing against a player like Rosol two sets down, big server, is always going to be tough.
“I’m a bit tired because there was lot of tension out there, but I had a good answer after the first set and that is really pleasing.”
You can look at Nadal’s form in two ways. Either you think he’s running on empty just over two weeks after his record-breaking exertions at Roland Garros or you say that champions find the will and desire to win in any circumstance and that he forces others to raise their levels to compete with him.
If Nadal was being made to fight, Roger Federer efficiently secured his progress with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over Luxembourg’s Giles Muller, booming down 25 aces in a dominant service display.
The seven-time champion was always in control, indeed the only time he was inconvenienced was when rain forced players off court as the roof was closed.
“It was a serving contest and I’m happy just to make it, especially after the rain delay,” said Federer.
“It’s nice to bang down some aces for the confidence but I need to keep working hard and trying to stay consistent.”
Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka managed back-to-back wins at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009 after beating Lu Yen- Hsun of Taiwan to reach the third round.
The number five seed defeated the former quarterfinalist 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 while Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios, the youngest man in the draw, caused a shock by beating 13th seed Richard Gasquet in five sets.
* As the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, HSBC is helping fans get closer to Wimbledon by giving them the chance to win Centre Court tickets. For further information, visit www.wimbledon.com/hsbc