Rafael Nadal is in action against David Nalbandian for a place in the fourth round of the US Open.
Nadal looked pretty ropey in his opening round clash but he got a nice boost when Nicolas Mahut retired while trailing 6-2, 6-2 in their second round match. Until that point it had been a much more assured performance from the defending champion but he knows things are starting to get tougher particularly with his former nemesis Nalbandian awaiting him on Sunday.
"For me he's a very dangerous opponent. I had very tough matches against him," Nadal said. "I lost first two, first three, I don't know. I lost against him in Madrid, Paris. I don't remember the other one. I beat him in an unbelievable match in Indian Wells 2009, and I beat him in Miami 2010 probably. Both matches was tough. We'll see. He's dangerous. He's a very good player. We know each other really good. We practice a lot together. He's a good friend. Will be a very good test for me."
It's 2-2 on the head-to-head but Nadal has won the last two, beating his occasional practise partner 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 in Miami last year.
Nalbandian has been plagued by injuries over the past few years and he has only competed sparingly since Wimbledon. He's still performing well enough to get to this stage of the majors and has one of the finest two-handed backhands in the game but after all the time he's spent away from time he doesn't move so well these days and Nadal will get him on the run and find him out. Nalbandian's only chance is to take the ball early, hope Nadal's hitting short with his backhand and take some risks.