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Rafael Nadal Vs Pablo Cuevas Live Stream And Atp Hamburg Match Preview

Rafa Nadal vs. Pablo Cuevas takes place today at the 2015 Bet-at-home Open in Hamburg.

The ATP Hamburg match is scheduled to start at 14:30 BST.


Nadal is far from his top form so far at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg, but against Cuevas, the world no. 10 should be in little danger of failing to make the semifinals.

After recovering from a set deficit against Fernando Verdasco to win 12 of the last 14 games and secure a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory in his opening match, Nadal looked set for an easier victory against another left-hander with a big forehand, 22-year-old Jiri Vesely. Although the top seed got the win in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(2), it wasn’t as easy as it should have been: Nadal dropped serve four times, three of them in the second set – including when he served for the match at 6-4, 5-4, when he double-faulted on match point and then again on break point. He double-faulted seven times in all, won only 41% of points on his second serve and in general found little penetration on his serve, as well as committing 33 unforced errors for 30 winners and converting only five of 13 break points.

So it was far from a vintage performance from Nadal, but the important thing is that he won in straight sets despite determined opposition from Vesely and his workrate certainly wasn’t in question. Awkward, scrappy wins like that are maybe ideal confidence-building fodder for Nadal so far and that, after all, is his major motivation for returning to play on clay right before the US hard-court season.

That said, Nadal certainly won’t object to an easier victory over fifth seed Pablo Cuevas in the quarterfinals. Currently ranked world no. 25, Cuevas enjoyed a great post-Wimbledon clay-court stretch in 2014, winning titles in Bastad (d. Joao Sousa) and Umag (d. Tommy Robredo), but his only quarterfinal appearance for the rest of the season was on the hard courts of Kuala Lumpur. Cuevas has continued his upwards momentum in 2015, winning Sao Paolo and finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in Istanbul, but he has struggled to make an impact outside of clay or at bigger events than a 250.

He could make his first 500 semifinal of the season if he can beat Nadal in Hamburg, something he was close to doing earlier this year in their first career meeting in the quarterfinals of Rio de Janeiro, leading by a set before Nadal came back to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 (Nadal would lose in the next round to Fabio Fognini).

Cuevas has been in strong form in Hamburg so far, beating Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 7-6(4), 6-4 before outlasting Jerzy Janowicz in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, to set up a second career meeting with Nadal.

The Uruguayan will be a change of pace for Nadal. Much more of a grinder rather than an erratic powerhouse like Verdasco and Vesely, Cuevas will make a lot of balls and while he won’t blow Nadal off the court, he will give up few unforced errors. The problem is that that’s rarely been a winning formula against Nadal, and still isn’t even with the vulnerabilities evident in the world no. 10’s game these days. The players who beat Nadal do so by being aggressive and hitting the ball very, very hard and that kind of game plan isn’t really in Cuevas’s locker. If anything, this match could be a great opportunity for Nadal to build some rhythm and cut down on the unforced errors and the top seed looks set for the semifinals of the bet-at-home Open.

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Ian Horne
Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

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