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Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open 2019: Rafael Nadal vs Jared Donaldson, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
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1.04K   //    09 Mar 2019, 19:10 IST

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal will meet the young Jared Donaldson in his first match of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. Both are coming off long injury layoffs, but while the Spaniard has found his mojo, the once world number 48 Donaldson is yet to get back to anywhere close to his best yet.

This will be the second match between the two. Their first match was also on a hard court, at the 2017 Shanghai Masters where the young American managed to take only three games off Nadal in the entire match.

But he is still just 22 years old, and should not get too bogged down by the prowess and pedigree of the opponent on the other side of the court. He is an especially strong defensive player, and should be able to pose some challenge to the Nadal serve. But Nadal too has improved his serve a lot, as was evident at the Australian Open, and it remains to be seen whether he can dominate Donaldson through his powerful serves!

However, Donaldson will find it extremely difficult to hold his serve consistently as he does not have the kind of big serve, so common among today’s young players. Nadal is one of the best returners in the game and he will be surely looking forward to exploiting any sort of weakness on Donaldson’s service games.

Jared Donaldson
Jared Donaldson

The American did reasonably well against Tatsuma Ito in his first-round match here; he won an identical 71% of service points on his first and second serves. Serving well should be the first requirement for Donaldson to stand a chance against Nadal. On the other hand, the world number two would be smarting from his second round loss to Nick Kyrgios at Acapulco, and would love to put up a much better show here.

Fans all over the world are anticipating a Federer-Nadal semi-final at Indian Wells this year. But for that to happen, both the stalwarts have to make sure that they don’t have any early slip-ups.

It is unthinkable that the ever-competitive Nadal will lack motivation or focus, even against a relatively ‘weak’ opponent. He will come out all guns blazing and it is to be seen whether the American has it in him to withstand that onslaught; otherwise, it could be a repeat of their previous one-sided encounter.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight Sets

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