Nadal Passes Tricky Test Against Kukushkin

The scoreboard said 6-4 6-3 6-4 to Rafael Nadal but it was an uneasy two-and-a-half hours for the Spanish world number one as he labored past Kazakhstan’s tennis player Mikhail Kukushkin into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday.

Twice champion Nadal, 32, never quite got to grips with the Kazakh’s low, skidding shots and faced 13 break points in an entertaining Center Court contest in London, Reuters reported.

Had Kukushkin converted a few more of them it could have got really complicated for Nadal, who is still finding his grass court game after claiming an 11th French Open title.

The mere mention of Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis and Dustin Brown - all of whom have knocked him out at the All England Club since he won the 2010 title - is enough to make Nadal’s face crease into a frown.

He also got a fright from Kukushkin when he dropped the opening set at Wimbledon in 2014 so there was clear relief in his voice as he stopped for an interview on his way back to the locker room after a second successive straight-sets win.

“It was very tough because he played very well and his shots stay very low so it was a good test,” Nadal said. “I am happy to go through, I think I played better than the first day. The most important thing is you can’t save your body at majors, you have to give your best.”

Second seed Nadal is into the third round for the eighth time where he will face Australian teenager Alex De Minaur.

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