The 2008 and 2010 champion cruised on Centre Court, routing Young and avoiding a late hiccup to advance 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. Nadal reaches the third round for only the second time since 2011, when the Spaniard reached his fifth and most recent title match at The Championships.
“I think I played a solid match. Serving well. It’s true that in the third I served a little bit worse. But in general terms, I am happy. I played well,” Nadal said.
Early upsets have plagued Nadal of late at the All England Club. The left-hander lost to No. 102 Dustin Brown in 2015, No. 144 Nick Kyrgios in 2014, No. 135 Steve Darcis in 2013), and No. 100 Lukas Rosol in 2012. But the Spaniard never let Young, the 2007 Wimbledon boys’ singles champion, gain much momentum in their second-round match.
The Spaniard broke No. 43 Young five times and was ruthless on serve, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points. The fourth seed was particularly effective at the net, where he won 79 per cent (27/34) of those points.
Nadal could have a battle on his hands in the third round. He will face #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-5. The 21-year-old Khachanov is making his Wimbledon debut but showed fine form on the grass last month, making the semi-finals at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle before falling to eventual champion Roger Federer 6-4, 7-6(5).
“I think I am doing the right things. I feel myself playing well. Now I have a tough opponent in front of me, like Khachanov. It’s going to be a tough match for me. I hope to be ready to keep playing well,” Nadal said. “I don’t know how deep I can go on the draw, but I really don’t think about that now. The only thing is today I won another match here in Wimbledon. That means a lot to me. I’m happy tomorrow I have a practice day, and then after tomorrow a match. That’s all. That’s my route and I just try to follow.”
Gilles Muller, who also had success on the grass before Wimbledon, beat Czech Lukas Rosol for the first time 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-3, 9-7 in three hours and 37 minutes. Muller won his first grass-court title at the Ricoh Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last month, but he had never beaten Rosol in their two prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.
Muller came up big on Wednesday, though, nailing 95 winners, including 45 aces, to reach the third round and match his best result at SW19. The 16th seed will next play Brit Aljaz Bedene, who beat Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Bedene’s previous best Wimbledon showing was the second round in 2015.
“It’s never easy to play against a friend. We are good friends. We both were nervous from the beginning,” Bedene said. “To be honest, I started to play better in the third set, and then in the fourth I was in control but before it was just too many errors. But I won in four sets and I’m pleased with that.”