Nadal digs deep to see off Klizan

Rafael Nadal had to fight off a spirited challenge from Martin Kilzan on day two of Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal had to fight off a spirited challenge from Martin Kilzan on day two of Wimbledon

First published in National Sport News © by

World number one Rafael Nadal fought back from losing the first set to beat Martin Klizan 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3 on Centre Court and secure a place in the second round at Wimbledon.

Nadal, who has lost in the first round here for the last two years, recovered from what was a spirited opening attack by Klizan, ranked some 50 places below the French Open champion.

For a brief period, the Centre Court crowd sensed there may be another shock on the cards, with the two-time Wimbledon winner having to save three break points in the first game against fellow left-hander Klizan.

The Spaniard, playing without any strapping on his troublesome knees, then produced a costly double-fault which handed Klizan a break at 5-4 and the chance to serve for the first set - which was secured after Nadal put a forehand into the net and then sent a baseline return long.

Nadal, aiming to record a 700th ATP Tour match win, rallied at the start of the second set, saving two break points to lead 2-1.

The 28-year-old then took the initiave to break himself at 4-2 as the occasion seemed to be betting to Klizan.

However, the Slovak - who defeated Kei Nishikori, the Japanese 10th seed, at Roland Garros - showed composure to hold.

He then pushed Nadal to two break points in the ninth game, which eventually went the way of the Spaniard following a fine drop shot and a forehand cross-court winner to level the match.

Nadal looked to maintain the momentum as he moved 3-0 ahead at the start of the third set.

However, 24-year-old Klizan, who has only ever won four matches on grass, refused to lay down as he forced a break back.

Nadal, though, showed all of his experience to consolidate at 5-3 with both players happy to come to the net - much to the delight of the crowd - before moving ahead in the match for the first time after forcing another break of serve when Klizan drilled back another long return from the baseline.

The second seed took control of the fourth set with an early break to lead 4-1, which seemed to have signalled the end of Klizan's resistance.

However, Nadal was broken again, only to recover with a swift break-back against Klizan's next service game.

Nadal failed to convert his first match point, then had to save a break before he secured victory in just shy of three hours when Klizan sent another attempted passing shot just out.

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