Nadal Survives Basel Upset Bid

Two points from defeat, World No. 7 rallies to top unseeded Czech Rosol

His back against the wall, World No. 7 Rafael Nadal rallied for a dramatic 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) victory over upset-minded Lukas Rosol on Monday at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

How close was Nadal to defeat? His unseeded Czech opponent was just two points from victory in the second set.

"It was a very tough match emotionally," said Nadal, who registered 23 winners to 27 unforced errors. "At the same time, it's a great victory. It's important for me to have these kinds of comebacks. I've been in these situations more times than I would like this year, so I'm happy to win a match like this."

Buoyed by a pair of breaks, Rosol rolled through the first set in a mere 23 minutes, smacking eight winners and dropping just one point on his serve (16 of 17).

The No. 69-ranked baseliner continued to play clean tennis into the second set, opening the stanza with a break and before long was serving for the match at 5-4, 30-0. But Nadal still had some life left. On only his second break-point opportunity of the match, he sent a backhand pass down the line to even the set at 5-all. Rosol was serving to stay in the set down 5-6 when a double fault — only his second of the day — leveled the match at one set apiece.

The 30-year-old Rosol fell behind 3-0 in the third set as Nadal surged ahead. However, he would bring the set back on serve at 4-4 and the match-up would come down to a telltale tie-break. It was here that Nadal showed his experience in pressure-filled situations. He would storm back from a 0-3 deficit to nullify the upset bid in two hours and 16 minutes.

"It was tough for me to get into the match," Nadal asserted. "It was a little bit of everything. A little bit of luck, a little bit of belief, to keep fighting for this match. That's what I did."

Although he came into the match 1-2 lifetime against Nadal, Rosol had defeated the 27-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titlist on a big stage before. It was at Wimbledon in 2012, after all, that Rosol stunned the Spaniard in the second round 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. But Nadal proved too tough this time around.

Qualifier Adrian Mannarino did manage to pull off an upset in the day’s first singles match. The Frenchman saved two match points and overcame a 15-ace performance from Serb Viktor Triocki to win 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) in two hours and 25 minutes. Other first-round winners included Donald Young (d. Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 3-6, 6-4) and Dominic Thiem (d. Robin Haase 0-6, 7-6(5), 7-5.

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