Rafa Nadal sealed a comfortable win over Botic van de Zandschulp on Monday, defeating the Dutchman 6-4, 6-2 and 7-6 in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Fellow Spaniards Carlos Alcaraz and Paula Badosa were knocked out.
Nadal took to the Centre Court at the All England Tennis Club with the weight of expectation on his shoulders following Alcaraz and Badosa's exits. The Spaniard had a tough opponent to deal with, especially as Van de Zandschulp has had more experience on grass in 2022.
The Mallorcan player reached cruising speed very early on and he was close to breaking the Dutchman's first service game, who put up a fight and was only broken as Nadal won the first set point.
The Spaniard won the opening three games of the second set with ease, before steamrolling his opponent and once again breaking him in the second set point.
Van de Zandschulp picked up the pace in what would be the final set of the evening, breaking Nadal's serve before the same happened to him in thefollowing game.
Nadal then took a 5-2 lead and was poised to close the game out, but the Dutchman refused to give up, as he won the following three games to make it 5-5. The Spaniard recovered well to go 6-5 up, but failed to stop his opponent forcing a tie break which he ultimately won.
Rafa Nadal will next face Taylor Fritz on Wednesday in the quarter-finals, a round that the Mallorcan has never lost in at Wimbledon in his eight attempts.
Carlos Alcaraz was on the verge of completing an impressive come back against Italian Jannij Sinner on Sunday. The 19-year-old Spaniard arguably played his worst match of tennis this year.
Alcaraz's first set was short of embarrassing, losing it 6-1, though he marginally improved in the second but still fell 6-4. He took the third set 7-6 (10) after an epic tie break, but his overexertion cost him the match with a fourth set that ended 6-3.
Even more devastating was Paula Badosa's defeat to ex-world number 1 Simona Halep, who just about beat the Spaniard in straight sets. Badosa won the first set's opening game, before the reins were handed over to her opponent, who won the next six.
She improved in the second set and both players shared the first four games, but Halep stormed her way into the quarter-finals by winning the following four.