Nadal recalls turning points
Nadal recalls turning point
From Chris Lines in Paris
June 05, 2006
RAFAEL Nadal can still remember individual points that caused his past deefats by Lleyton Hewitt, as the pair prepare for a fourth-round French Open clash tonight (AEST).
Hewitt has beaten Nadal three times from three meetings, but the Spaniard is hot favourite to reverse that on Roland Garros, where he is unbeaten in 10 matches and is the defending champion.
The Australian may have the head-to-head advantage, but all three of those wins have been on hardcourts, and this one is on clay – a surface upon which Nadal has now won an astonishing 56 consecutive matches, breaking Argentine Guillermo Vilas's all-time record.
Nevertheless, Nadal has taken those losses against Hewitt – two at the Australian Open in 2004 and 2005 and another in Toronto in 2004 – to heart and still keenly remembers them.
"I played him in Toronto, 6-1 4-4 30-15, and I missed a shot – I remember that very clearly," he said.
"Then in Australia, (I was up) two sets to (one), 4-4, 15-30, I went up to the net and he lobbed me."
What is remarkable about Nadal's recall is that he mentioned these matches less than an hour after stepping off-court from his epic third-round win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.
The fact that the match with Mathieu – four sets rather than five – still went just seven minutes shy of five hours gives an indication of just how hard Hewitt will have to work.
Nadal and Hewitt are the only seeded players remaining in the bottom half of the draw, with the Australian a genuine chance to progress all the way to the final if he can overcome the massive obstacle in front of him tonight.
The match is second on centre court, with the preceding men's match set to begin at noon Paris time (8pm AEST).
Also tonight, Samantha Stosur and her American partner Lisa Raymond, top seeds for the doubles, will play No.16 seeds Dinara Safina and Roberta Vinci in the third round.
Rennae Stubbs and Zimbabwe's Cara Black, the No.2 seeds, will take on No.13 seeds Anastasia Myskina and Elena Likhovtseva from Russia.
This just shows how focussed nadal is... i can't wait to watch this match!