Rafael Nadal has had some tough breaks recently: He struggled through a poor 2015 season, then – just as he began to regain his momentum this spring – he suffered a severe wrist injury. He pulled out of the French Open in the early rounds of the tournament, then missed Wimbledon altogether.
Expectations for Rio were tempered. But in a fiery opener and a solid second round performance, Nadal has demonstrated he may be able to earn a second Olympic singles gold medal.
Though he wasn’t perfect on Tuesday, Nadal won his second round match against Italy’s unseeded Andrea Seppi in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard missed a number of routine shots in both sets, but played aggressively and tactically throughout.
As male players prepare for their third round matches, a blockbuster final round between the 2008 singles gold medalist (Nadal) and the 2012 singles gold medalist (Great Britain's number two seed Andy Murray) looks like a strong possibility.
But Nadal’s next opponent won’t be easy. In the third round, the Spaniard plays Frenchman Gilles Simon, seeded 15th.