(PASSING THE LJUB - Rafa glides easily into a quarterfinal birth. And yes, I've been planning to write that quip for roughly 48 hours since the match up was announced.)
Earlier today, Nadal defeated Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the French Open. His insane record at Roland Garros now stands at 42-1.
Still, it's not the dominant performance, everyone seems to keep anticipating from him. He's not really winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, as the public seems to demand in order for Nadal to be regarded as "playing well" on clay. But even beyond the fact the score seems too close, the worry seems to carry on Rafa's face. He just seems concerned. And the press keeps asking him about it and he keeps giving all the really long, interesting answers. I'm including the link to the transcript of his last post-match press conference here.
Whether or not he's playing at the best level he's ever played here, Our Hero is still moving ahead to play his Roland Garros-Nemesis Robin Soderling in the quarterfinal on Wednesday. I think that match is going to be TOUGH. Rafa can do it though. I believe in him! Vamos!