Rafael Nadal has credited an 'evolution' in his serve for his much improved performance against Kei Nishikori in Barcelona.
Nadal has looked uncharacteristically vulnerable on clay so far this year, losing to Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo and then dropping the first set to world number 111 Ilya Ivashka in his Barcelona Opener.
He dropped another set against Nishikori on Thursday, but the performance was far better than the previous two, and Nadal says he believes it was his serve that was letting him down.
“I think my serve is evolving the right way,” Nadal said after the match.
“Of course when you play a very bad day like I did against Rublev in Monte-Carlo with my serve you need some time, but I am feeling that my serve is evolving the right way.
"I served better than yesterday today and in important moments I had a couple of good serves."
Nadal is usually as ruthless on his beloved clay, but he has been taken to three sets in each of his last three matches.
He, though, says that is a positive - because it gets him ore minutes on the court and that is what he needs after such an intermittent schedule of late.
“The past three matches that I played were three sets and I don’t take something negative [from that],” Rafael Nadal explained.
“For me it’s something very positive. I need time on court, I need to go through these moments and the past two matches I went through these moments with a victory.
"Tomorrow (Friday) is another opportunity. I’m excited to keep playing and [have] another chance to play better.”
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