Nadal survives illness to battle into third round

Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:04am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal felt so ill after the first set of his tough second round clash against qualifier Tim Smyczek on Wednesday that he feared he was going to have to pull out.

The 28-year-old had romped through the first set but was then struck by something that almost made him vomit on court and left him sweating profusely.

"I was close to not continuing. I was dizzy, I felt that I might fall down," Nadal told reporters after the 6-2 3-6 6-7(2) 6-3 7-5 victory over the American.

"At the end of the first set, I start to feel my body very bad, very tired. I don't know. I was worrying crazy.

"I was suffering a lot. Too much. (It) was not funny today."

Nadal's problems may have begun in the second set but it was not until early in the third that he sought medical treatment and Smyczek seized his opportunity to canter through the tiebreak.

As fears mounted around Rod Laver Arena that the third seed could suffer an early exit, the man who has a 16-5 record in five-set marathons battled back to open a 5-2 lead in the fourth set before dragging Smyczek into a decider.

The fifth set went on serve until Nadal finally broke the resistance of Smyczek, whose scrambling game resembles that of former top-five player David Ferrer, in the 11th game before wrapping up the win on his fourth match point.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Tim Smyczek of the U.S. during their men's singles second round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter