Oct 15, 2008

Rafael Nadal 2 wins away of ending the year as No. 1

Ernests Gulbis did not survive the grueling match against Rafael Nadal.

I was too tired to wait for that 2 a.m. match last night. I'm glad I didn't because the pay TV Astro did not show Rafael Nadal vs Ernest Gulbis match!

Rafael Nadal is just two wins shy of clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking, defeating Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 last night to reach the third round of the Madrid Masters.

Nadal was forced to work his ass off to win in the second round.

Next up for Nadal, the 2005 Madrid champion, will be 15th-ranked Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet overcame 23 aces by Mardy Fish to win 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-3.

Back in Wimbledon, Nadal was taken to four sets by Gulbis, and last night's match was similarly tricky for the Spaniard.

Nadal has never been a fan of the Spanish capital’s high altitude and the extra speed it brings to the hard court.

He had a difficult time keeping up with the Latvian before ended the match in 2 hours and 22 minutes.

The Hugo Boss ball girl dropped a ball during the Nadal vs Gulbis match.

In other second-round matches, U.S. Open finalist Andy Murray advanced while 11th-seeded James Blake and 13th-seeded Fernando Verdasco lost.

Murray moved on when Simone Bolelli of Italy retired with an apparent shoulder injury while trailing 6-0, 2-1.

Murray will next play Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who beat Verdasco 6-2, 6-3.
“I’ve been playing really, really well in practice the last few weeks, better than I was playing throughout the summer,” said Murray, who won his first Masters Series title in Cincinnati in August.

“I’m probably mentally fresher now than the U.S. Open.”
(Images via Yahoo! Sport)

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