The Spaniard swept past Benoit Paire in the first round in straight sets 6-1, 6-4, 6-1. He has now won 18 of the total 19 matches on clay this year. Even though the World No. 4 was satisfied with his first round performance he insisted that there’s still scope for improvement as he only managed to hit only 64% of his first serves in during the match with two double faults and only one ace.
The undisputed “King of Clay” is in tremendous shape and is reigning on clay with three titles in his bag this year – Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and the Madrid Open.
Nadal, desperate to win his second round encounter with Haase, said “Against Robin Haase – he’s a dangerous opponent – he hits the ball very hard. I need to be very focused on serve. It will be very tough.”
Speaking of Haase, he has a 14-14 win-loss record so far this year and advanced into the second round with his win over Alex Minaur in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. This was only his 5th win in his overall 13 matches at the French Open and only his fourth out of the total nine matches on clay this year. The World Number 46 however has an overall 77-67 record on the said court and has made it to the finals of seven tournaments (winning four) held on clay since 2015.
Nadal and Haase have played twice in the past, with the former winning both the encounters. Their latest meeting was at Doha Qatar in 2016 when Nadal got the better of Haase in just 17 games 6-3, 6-2.
The two will be meeting on clay for the first time in the second round. For Haase, given his clay court record this year, mere decent or average won’t cut it if he wants to edge Nadal.
On the contrary, Nadal, who barely faces any problem in the first two rounds of any tournament, should have minimal issues with Haase whom he has already thumped twice.
Also Read: Federer and Nadal can be Top 2 by 2017 end!