Rafael Nadal continued his winning ways (while wearing questionably stylish shorts) last night in the 3rd round at the Aussie Open. He dispatched the No. 27-seed, Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
On the surface, that score doesn't look so bad, but Rafa wasn't thrilled with his performance over all. He lost the third set, but the others looked okay on paper. Still, here are Rafa's thoughts. In the first set, "I played bad." In the second set, "a few moments, I played well." In the third? "I started terrible, no?" What about the fourth? "I think I played much better in the fourth set than the rest."
One undeniably bad stat for Rafa is that he only converted three of fifteen break point chances. He's gotta grab control of those opportunities! Then again, as Rafa put it, "Everybody has not very good days." He still found a way to win.
Next up, Nadal faces 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic. Dr. Ivo is notorious for his high number of aces, but they don't always lead to wins. Nadal just needs to play aggressively, and extend the rallies to tire Ivo out. Still it's going to be a tough match. Vamos Rafa!
Side note: Okay, so what the hell is going on in this picture? It looks like Rafa is running into one of the linespeople. He's not sexually assaulting this dude (it's a dude, right? don't let all that pink fool you.) because the racket is clearly placed in between their private areas, preventing contact. Still, as Rafa would say, it's an awkward moment, no? It bears mention that the only people wearing worse outfits than Rafa in this tournament are the linespeople. Hot pink wind breakers and hot pink hats with flaps, are... very bright. There's no way to look dignified in an outfit like that. No way at all.
One thing that's also nice to see in Rafa matches is crowd support. For some reason, the crowds are not always with Rafa, cheering him towards success. I always find this hard to believe, but I've seen it so many times nonetheless. I like pictures like the one below that show the crowds in Rafa's corner. Keep up to good work, Aussie spectators!