Defending champions Rafael Nadal will continue his journey for glory when he faces Juan Ignacio Londero in the Round of 16 on Sunday.
Nadal started the tournament as the favorite, and his performances in Paris thus far have justified that belief. He faced David Goffin in the previous round, where he dropped the first set of the tournament. The Belgian pushed Nadal, but the Spaniard prevailed 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Goffin played brilliantly in the third set and forced the game to four sets as a result. Nadal regained his composure in the final set and wrapped up the game.
He will be looking to clinch his third consecutive title at Roland-Garros. Nadal won the Italian Open two weeks ago which gave him the perfect warm-up for the French Open. He breezed through the first two rounds, and Goffin was the first opponent who troubled him. Nadal defeated Germans Yannick Hanfmann and Yannic Maden in the first two rounds. In the first set against Goffin, Nadal was sensational as well. He dropped just one point on serve in that set.
“In the first set I played unbelievably, I think, so, so good,” said Nadal after the game. “Then a good second set, too. In the fourth [set], of course, I had to fight again, and I think I became a little bit more aggressive again, and that was, in the end, the key.” Nadal dropped just one set when he won the French Open last year, and he will be hoping to achieve that yet again this time.
Juan Ignacio Londero stands between him and the quarter-finals. He faced Corentin Moutet in his previous game, and the match went the distance. Londero prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in five sets. Moutet was the crowd favorite being a France native, but Londero came through the contest with flying colors. This year’s French Open is the first Grand Slam main draw for the 25-year-old.
He has been in the qualifying process eight times before but never made it to the main draw. Furthermore, he began the year with no wins on tour-level matches. Londero was 0-3, but he stitched up a great run to win the Cordoba Open. That was his first ATP title, and he won it as a wildcard. Despite his little experience at this level, he has won three Roland-Garros games. Londero beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round and defeated Richard Gasquet after that.
Rafael Nadal vs Juan Ignacio Londero Prediction
Nadal will be the overwhelming favorite for this game, despite his slight hiccup against Goffin. Londero lacks the experience at this level, and Nadal should win in straight sets to progress to the quarter-finals. The Argentine will play Nadal for the first time, and it is bound to be a challenging game. Nadal’s clay game has looked as good as ever, and he should beat Londero to progress. Expect the total games be Over 25.