Nadal recovers to win on a rainy day at Wimbledon

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60-Second Slice: Wimbledon Day 4


By DENNIS PASSA

LONDON (AP) - Same start, same finish, for Rafael Nadal on a rainy Saturday at Wimbledon.

Nadal once again lost the first set of a match here this year but came back to win the next three, beating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round.

Under the closed roof on Centre Court, while play everywhere else was suspended due to the inclement weather, Nadal turned the match around by winning eight consecutive games and 14 of 15.

When the match ended, Nadal threw his wristbands to the crowd, giving one of them to a group of vocal supporters dressed in yellow and sporting Spanish flags.

He then looked up to the Royal Box and gave a thumb's-up to David Beckham, who was standing and applauding.

Nadal recovers to win on a rainy day at Wimbledon
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 28: Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan (not seen) on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England on June 28, 2014. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan serves during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 28: Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in action during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain (not seen) on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England on June 28, 2014. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 28: Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in action during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain (not seen) on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England on June 28, 2014. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 28: Tennis fans watch the match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan during their Gentlemen's Singles third round match against on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England on June 28, 2014. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 28: Fans of Rafael Nadal show their support during a match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan during their Gentlemen's Singles third round match against on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England on June 28, 2014. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Gemma Arterton attends the Mikhail Kuskushkin v Rafael Nadal match on centre court during day six of the Wimbledon Championships at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Rachel Riley attends the Mikhail Kuskushkin v Rafael Nadal match on centre court during day six of the Wimbledon Championships at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his men's singles third round match against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin on day six of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 28, 2014. Nadal won 6-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a return to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan during their men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Rafael Nadal of Spain changes his shirt between games during the men's singles match against Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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It marks the first time Nadal is into the second week at the All England Club since he was the runner-up in 2011. He lost in the first round last year and the second round in 2012.

In his first-round match this year, Nadal lost the opening set to Martin Klizan of Slovakia. In the second round he did the same to Lukas Rosol, the Czech player who beat him in five sets here in 2012.

But he has rallied to win all three matches despite the early setback.

"I finished all the matches playing better than (how) I started, and that's always very positive," Nadal said.

"At the beginning he was playing really long, no mistakes, very aggressive," Nadal added. "And I had a few mistakes ... I made a few unforced errors with that second serve. In the tiebreak, I didn't serve my best."

Once play began, including top-seeded Serena Williams against Alize Cornet of France on Court 1, there was only about 15 minutes of action before rain began falling again and the tarps were pulled over the grass.

Williams and Cornet are 1-1, 40-40 in their match.

Organizers postponed more than 30 doubles and junior matches, but said there was a chance the weather would improve later in the day.

Those already postponed included doubles matches involving top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan and Serena and Venus Williams.

Sunday is a scheduled off-day at Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam tournament that takes a break midway through.

Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, played Alison Riske of the United States on the next match on Centre Court, and seven-time champion Roger Federer was scheduled to play later against Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

Kukushkin, who lost in the first round in both his previous appearances at Wimbledon, started his match against two-time champion Nadal by belting the ball all around the court, and had 17 winners in the first set to Nadal's 11.

With Kukushkin holding three set points at 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Nadal got one back with his second ace of the tiebreaker. But Kukushkin took the first set when Nadal's backhand floated long.

Nadal won more total points in the first set, 43-41, but still found himself down early in the match.

He is feeling confident going into the fourth round.

"I am very happy to be in the second week again," he said. "Playing well, good speed, good tactics on court every day. Fighting for every ball and trying to find the right solutions during the game. "

60-Second Slice: Wimbledon Day 4

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