Rafael Nadal brushes aside Igor Sijsling in Indian Wells opener

Abhishek Desikan
Rafa Nadal attempts a backhand in his win over Igor Sijsling

Round 1: Rafael Nadal defeated Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-2

Rafa served superbly

Rafael Nadal returned to Indian Wells with a dominating performance as he dispatched Dutchman Igor Sijsling in straight sets in his opening match here. Nadal was in his element right from the start of the match. His returns were crisp and his court movements were excellent. He was there to return every shot, and broke in the opening game to the delight of the crowd, and Larry Ellison.

Nadal held on easily, to consolidate the break. Sijsling held on as well and got on board. The world no.3 was serving well, with good first serves and got easy points off it. He attacked the net, and cramped the Dutchman for space, as he got a love hold for 3-1.

Both players continued to hold serve, with Nadal particularly impressive, continuing his serving form. The Spaniard stepped up the pressure when he led 4-2, but Sisjling responded well, hitting acrobatic return shots at the net, to give himself a chance to get back.

Nadal was merciless, as he employed 1-2 with excellent serving and eased to a 5-3 lead. He again stepped up, but was unsuccessful in breaking Sijsling, as he didn’t give Nadal a look at a break point, leaving him to serve for the set.

Nadal didn’t falter, as he raced to three set points after strong and well placed returns from the baseline, and won the set, when Sijsling hit a forehand to the net.

The Dutchman offered little resistance in the second set

Sijsling put himself under further pressure early on in the second set, as he conceded three break points in the opening game, but fought back valiantly, by serving and volleying. Nadal created his fourth break point opportunity, and this time, he converted, as Sijsling hit long, and took a 1-0 lead, similar to the first set.

Nadal was in fine form, giving Sijsling little opportunity to break back, as he consolidated yet again, for a 2-0 lead. Both players held serve, before Nadal displayed some scintillating form, with some excellent passing shots and groundstrokes, as he broke Sijsling for a second time to lead 4-1. Nadal continued to dominate, serving extremely well and capping it off with an ace, and was now one game away from the second round.

Nadal served for the match at 5-2, and conceded his first break point of the match, but quickly recovered with two powerful serves as he celebrated a commanding victory when the Dutchman hit long.

Nadal will now face another left hander, Donald Young, in the third round.

Edited by Staff Editor


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