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Monday, August 8, 2022
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Nadal Vs. Van de Zandschulp


Rafael Nadal and Botic van de Zandschulp will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers and for the second time in less than a month when they meet again in round four at Wimbledon on Monday. They just faced each other during third-round action at the French Open, where Nadal cruised 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

The question is: will grass make any difference?

Probably not. Both guys are all-court players, so the surface should not have any significant impact. Nadal may be the King of Clay, but right now he is the king of everything. The 36-year-old Spaniard has won each of the first two Grand Slams in 2022 and is No. 1 in the race to Turin by almost 2,000 points. He has improved his season record to 33-3 and extended his slam winning streak to 17 with victories over Francisco Cerundolo, Ricardas Berankis, and Lorenzo Sonego. Nadal dropped sets to both Cerundolo and Berankis in mediocre performances but raised his level considerably to crush Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Van de Zandschulp has been great dating back to last summer – albeit not anywhere near Nadal’s level, of course. The 26-year-old Dutchman is up to a career-high of No. 25 in the world and this marks the second grass-court event of the summer in which he has won three matches (previously at Queen’s Club). Van de Zandschulp earned his spot in week two of Wimbledon by beating and Feliciano Lopez, Emil Ruusuvuori, and Richard Gasquet in mostly routine fashion.

Botic Van de Zandschulp

“He’s a player that [has] been improving unbelievable the last year, ”Nadal commented. “(It) was a good challenge in the French and I think he will be [again]. He’s a complete player with a lot of great [attributes]and I need to keep going the way that I played [against Sonego]–Playing aggressive and playing with the right energy.

“He’s a tough opponent, but we are in fourth round. That’s the way it should be. ”

Van de Zandschulp does have a fair amount of firepower, but not enough to make him that prototypical player who would consistently give Nadal trouble. And given the way the second seed looked on Saturday, all signs point to this being one-way traffic.

Pick: Nadal in 3



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