Rafael Nadal survived two early scares en route to the third round of the French Open, and can steady his play Saturday at Roland Garros.
Martin Kilzan and Daniel Brands each stole the first set from Nadal in the first and second rounds, only to lose the next three straight. Despite the wins, the early spells reminded many of the Spaniards struggle in the third round of the Italian Open when he played maybe the worst set of his career against Ernests Gulbis.
Italy’s Fabio Fognini will face Nadal in the third round Saturday after a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-1 win over Lukas Rosol.
The pair have only faced once before, with Nadal beating the 26-year-old Italian in straight sets in Rome last month.
Should the seven-time French Open champion advance, he will continue his collision course with No. 1 ranked Novak Djokovic.
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Squaring off against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, the Serb has made quick work of his opponents thus far in Paris. He hasn’t lost a single set, and needed one tiebreaker against Lucas Pouille in the previous round.
Djokovic is 30-4 overall this year, including 9-0 in slams, but has proved slightly vulnerable in tiebreaker sets, going 9-4.
Both Nadal and Djokovic fell behind the rest of the field due to rain on Thursday.
Coverage begins at 12 p.m. Eastern on NBC, or a live online stream is available at NBC Live Extra here.