Iga Swiatek

The defending champions and practice buddies took their respective Roland Garros courts on Saturday—Iga Swiatek on Court Philippe Chatrier, Rafael Nadal on the second show court, Suzanne Lenglen—and then took their fans on scenic but ultimately successful journeys into the fourth round.

While that description implies both players experiencing degrees of struggle, struggle is very much relative to a 13-time tournament champion. Considering Nadal's career-long dominance in Paris, the fact that he even surrendered back-to-back breaks of serve to Cameron Norrie was noteworthy, even if those breaks came in the middle of a match he would comfortably win, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Norrie, ranked 45th and having entered Roland Garros after an commendable clay-court swing—quarterfinals in Barcelona, runner-up in Estoril, second round in Rome as a qualifier, runner-up in Lyon—did not shrink under the spotlight of the moment, or amidst the living legacy of his opponent. It may have helped that they’d already tangled on clay this season; Nadal beat Norrie 6-1, 6-4 in Barcelona. It may have also helped that Norrie is a fellow left-hander, which seemingly negates Nadal’s trademark southpaw advantage.

But that would be neglecting the damage Nadal’s backhand can inflict, particularly in this match-up.

“If not for Nadal’s forehand,” two-time French Open champion Jim Courier said on Tennis Channel, referencing a text he'd received from Andre Agassi, “we’d be talking about his backhand as one of the best ever.”

As if on cue, Nadal—having broken Norrie back both times in the second set, and then a third time to take the lead 5-3—sprinted to his right a set point, and rocketed a crosscourt backhand for an emphatic winner:

Source : https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/defending-champions-iga-swiatek-and-rafael-nadal-continue-to-amass-notable-numbe

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Defending champions Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal continue to amass notable numbers at the French Open

Source:Tennis

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