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Nadal Encouraged By Strong Finish

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal advanced to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011.

For the first time in his career, Rafael Nadal won three straight matches in a tournament after dropping the first set, as he battled into the second week at Wimbledon.

On a waterlogged Saturday at The Championships, the two-time champion and World No. 1 overcame a disappointing first set tie-break, impressively relinquishing just three games the rest of the way for a 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Mikhail Kukushkin

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The early hiccups provide little cause for concern according to Nadal, who was encouraged by his ability to close out the Kazakh so efficiently, especially in faster conditions with the roof closed. 

“I am playing well,” Nadal said. “I would be lying if I said another thing. I think I am playing well…I lost 7-6, and then I won in straight sets and with a positive score. The feeling was great.  I played aggressive. I had great movement. In difficult positions I was able to come back in the point. Then when I had chances with the forehand, I was able to play aggressive. That's what I did.

“In general is true that the roof is great because there is lot of light coming in, so the feeling is not that it is completely closed like an indoor tournament. I think that's better for us. I think I played a great match. It didn't affect me a lot.”

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Nadal lost to Lukas Rosol in his only other match under the Centre Court roof two years ago. In advancing to his first Round of 16 at Wimbledon since 2011, the second seed says he appreciates the prestige and tradition of the tournament and acknowledges that performing well at the All England Club is important to him.

“Wimbledon is (an important) part of the history of our sport. It is one of the most traditional tournaments. The combination of improvement of the courts, improvement of the club with the tradition and the history of this place, makes the tournament very, very special. I think even if some people don't like to play on grass, they cannot say that this place is not special because it is.”

Nadal will face Aussie young gun Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round, with a potential semi-final battle with rival Roger Federer looming on the horizon.

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