Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal booked a spot in the Wimbledon round of 16 with a comfortable 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory Saturday over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.
The Centre Court match, played under a closed roof due to rain, was closely contested in the early going, with neither player facing a break point and the first set coming down to a tiebreaker.
Playing temporarily like a top-10 player, Kukushkin won the big points in that "breaker" to take the first set and put some pressure on the Spaniard.
But the Kazakh was unable to maintain the same level of concentration and execution from that point forward, dropping serve in the fourth game of the second set to fall behind 3-1.
That advantage was all the No. 2 seed needed to start steamrolling his opponent, whose confidence came crashing down like a house of cards as the score became increasingly lopsided.
"At first he wasn't making errors and was very aggressive and I made some mistakes on his second-serve (points)," Nadal said after winning the third-round match.
"I'm finishing the matches better than I'm starting them and that's a good thing. I feel happy to be in the second week of Wimbledon after two years of losing before then."
Nadal, a two-time champion, has struggled at Wimbledon in recent years, losing in the second round of this grass-court Grand Slam event in 2012 and in the first round last year.
The Spaniard's contest was the only match completed Saturday afternoon, as rain suspended play on the other roofless courts. EFE