Rafael Nadal said he has gained “confidence” after his 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory over Joao Sousa in the fourth round of Wimbledon.
The Spaniard is through to his seventh last eight showing at the All England Club. He will also be featuring in his eighth consecutive quarterfinal at a Grand Slam. Nadal admitted he will face “a tough challenge” in his next match.
Going into the contest, the Spaniard held a convincing 2-0 head-to-head record over his Portuguese opponent. During the first week of the Championships, Sousa had won 33% of his return games – the then joint-fourth best record in the men’s singles. This did not seem to fze the third seed, who got off to a dream start, breaking his opponent at the first two times of asking and holding his own serve with ease.
A collection of vintage forehand winners and exceptional serving helped Nadal wrap up the opening set 6-2. The 33-year-old kept his momentum going into the second set, breaking in the very first game. Nadal managed to tighten his grip on the match as he won the set by the same scoreline. Another early break kept the Spaniard in the drivers seat and it was one way traffic once again. His fifth ace of the contest booked Nadal’s spot into the last eight.
Nadal comments on the match
“Of course, I have been playing good matches.” Nadal said. “Today was another good one, that gives me confidence.
“I know now is the most difficult part of the tournament. [Sam] Querrey or [Tennys] Sandgren is going to be there in front of me. [It is] going to be a big challenge, I hope to be ready for it.”
The two-time Wimbledon champion has played Querrey on five occasions, and leads their rivalry 4-1. However, the American won their most recent meeting in the 2017 Acapulco final. The pair have never played on grass.
Nadal said: “I think [Querrey] played the semifinals [of Wimbledon] in 2017, close match to be in the final. 2017 was an amazing year for him.
“When he plays well, he can be very, very dangerous in all surfaces. But of course, in fast surfaces, when he serves with his aggressive game, maybe more.”
Nadal has never faced Sandgren, who is looking to reach his second Grand Slam quarterfinal – after the 2018 Australian Open.
The Spaniard said: “Yeah, [Querrey and Sandgren] are both big, serving so well, both hitting strong from the baseline. It is a quarterfinals match. I expect a very tough opponent.”
The world no.2 has won all six of his previous Wimbledon quarterfinals. He is looking to reach his sixth straight Grand Slam semifinal, a feat he is yet to achieve.
It is not a foregone conclusion for the 33-year-old, as his last six losses at the All England Club have occurred against players ranked outside the top 20. Nadal will play his next match on Wednesday. He will face Querrey, who won his match (64 67 76 76) after Nadal left his press conference.
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