Rafael Nadal’s 1,000th ATP Tour-level match was on the verge of ending in disaster at the Miami Open after an awful first set from the Spaniard, who eventually recovered to defeat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 and advance to the fourth round.
Nadal, celebrating his landmark game, suffered just the 14th 0-6 set of his career, claiming just 33 percent of first serve points won and making a string of unforced errors.
After looking badly out of sorts, Nadal was able to rediscover his form in the second set and in the end ran out a comfortable winner.
Nadal said that there was little he could do against Kohlschreiber's outstanding play in the opening set.
Nadal: "He was playing too good. That's it"
"He was doing everything good. So that's sport, as I said hundreds of times and when somebody is playing the way that he was playing the first set ... he was playing too good. That's it," said Nadal.
"The positive thing is I handled the pressure very well after a very tough first set. I resisted well the first few games of the second, and then I think I played a great second and third set," he said.
Nadal said the key to his comeback had been his ability to change the tempo and rhythm of the match.
"It was obvious that the points had been too quick. He was able to return so quick and to hit every ball as hard as he could. So I needed to play a little bit longer points.
"It's not about being more or less aggressive, it's about changing a little bit the position on the court. I went back on the return. I tried to play a little bit higher balls against his backhand.
"That happened ...and I think my serve worked so good in the second and third set," added Nadal, who next faces France's Nicolas Mahut, who beat Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-4 6-3.
Nadal's landmark match
Nadal’s 1,000th match took him to 11th on the all-time list for the most professional games played in the Open Era. Jimmy Connors holds the overall record with 1,535. In terms of active players, only two men have played more matches on the ATP Tour than Nadal: Roger Federer (1,340) and David Ferrer (1,034).