Live Commentary: Mikhail Kukushkin vs. Rafael Nadal - as it happened

Spain's Rafael Nadal sits on the grass after slipping against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin during their men's singles third round match on June 28, 2014
© Getty Images
Read how Rafael Nadal progressed to the last 16 of Wimbledon by coming from behind to beat Mikhail Kukushkin under the roof on Centre Court.

Rafael Nadal opened up day six's play on Centre Court against Mikhail Kukushkin in the third round of Wimbledon.

The second seed and two-time champion lost the first set, but then roared back to progress to the last 16 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 6-1.

Read how it all unfolded under the roof on a wet day at the All England Club with our game-by-game updates below.


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1pmAfternoon all! Day six of Wimbledon is upon us and what a day we have ahead of us. The middle Saturday sees Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer all in action on Centre Court! Here we'll be focussing on the former as Nadal takes on Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.

1.03pmIt is traditional on the middle Saturday for sporting stars from across the globe to sit in the Royal Box. There's so many big names ready for a day of tennis, with David Beckham, Sachin Tendulkar, Tom Daley, Sir Bobby Charlton, Andrew Strauss, Stuart Broad and many more. Here's Ian Poulter with Beckham backstage:

1.06pmSue Barker is currently introducing all of the big names to the Centre Court. Mr Beckham is sure to get the biggest cheer.

1.09pmAnyway, enough celeb-spotting. Let's take a look at how the two players got here. Nadal has been fairly unconvincing so far, losing the first set in both of his first two matches but fighting back to win in four. In round one he saw off Martin Klizan and then beat a former conquerer of his - Lukas Rosol - on Thursday.

1.11pmKukushkin, meanwhile, is yet to lose a set at this year's Championships, beating unseeded duo Dudi Sela and Frank Dancevic to reach round three. Nadal is sure to provide a much, much sterner test.

1.14pm


1.19pmBecause of overcast conditions in SW19, the roof is on Centre Court to ensure that play isn't interrupted. I was there for Roger Federer's match on Thursday and the atmosphere certainly is special when the roof is on. Play on all the other courts is set to be hampered throughout the day. I'll keep you up to date with any big scores from elsewhere during Nadal's match.

1.21pmH2H: These two have met twice before, in Monaco and Bangkok, with Nadal winning both on straight sets.

1.24pmNew Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is also inside Centre Court to cheer on his fellow countryman Nadal. We profiled the Spaniard earlier today and you can read about him here ➜ http://bit.ly/HerreraProfile


1.27pmPREDICTION: Although Rafa hasn't been at his best in the first two rounds, Kukushkin should be perhaps an easier test and I expect a straight-sets win for the two-time Wimbledon champion.


1.28pmHere we go then, Nadal won the toss and chose to receive. Kukushkin to serve...

1.29pmA good start from the Kazakh as he fires down a big serve before plonking a forehand in the corner that Nadal can only net. The Spaniard also tumbles to the ground but is back up straight away.

1.31pmAt 30-30, Nadal dumps a backhand into the net to give Kukushkin game point but he can't take it as a loose forehand flies long. Deuce.

Kukushkin 1-0* NadalFirst game is a hold for Kukushkin as he converts on his third game point thanks to another netted backhand from Nadal.

1.34pmFirst real "oooh" from the crowd as Kukushkin unleashes a down-the-line forehand right into the corner to make it 15-15 on Rafa's serve.

1.35pmNadal follows it up with an ever better in-to-out forehand - one of Nadal's most unique strokes.

Kukushkin *1-1 NadalNice way for Nadal to wrap up the game as he ghosts into the net and finishes off the point at 40-15 with a drop volley.

1.38pmKukushkin's mishit pass dips onto the sideline and that puts him 30-0 up on serve. Impressive, nerveless start from the underdog.

Kukushkin 2-1* NadalA hold to love for Kukushkin as he swats another forehand down the line - his sixth winner of the match already. Nadal has two.

1.41pmAn update from the outside courts: Play briefly started but all the players are off again because the showers are back.

Kukushkin *2-2 NadalNadal looks like he's going to also have a love-hold, but Kukushkin rockets back a backhand return that even Rafa can't handle. The number two seed holds on the next point as Kukushkin hits wide.

1.44pmFirst challenge of the match comes from Nadal and he's right to do so as his deep return did land on the back edge of the baseline. 30-15 Kukushkin.

1.45pmThey replay the point, and what a point! Kukushkin peppers both the Nadal backhand and forehand but can't break him, losing the point by netting a forehand approach.

Kukushkin 3-2* NadalNadal sniffs a break at 30-30, but overhits on a second-serve return before Kukushkin's one-two, serve-forehand punch wraps up the game.

1.49pmNadal hits wide with a backhand to start game six. The 14-time Grand Slam winner is still yet to really get into his groove.

Rafael Nadal of Spain during his Gentlemen's Singles second round match against Lukas Rosol on June 26, 2014© Getty Images

1.50pmKukushkin's on top at 15-30 and should open up two break points but pulls a backhand down into the net.

Kukushkin *3-3 NadalThree apiece on Centre as Nadal blasts down his first ACE of the match at 40-30.

1.55pmIt's deuce on the Kukushkin serve as the world number 58 overshoots on a forehand approach. Is Nadal about to break?

1.58pmWe're at deuce number four as Kukushkin nets a forehand. Nadal hasn't had a break point, but Kukushkin just can't put the pesky Spaniard away on game point.

Kukushkin 4-3* NadalFabulous from both players as they stretch the whole court before Nadal's on-the-stretch slice doesn't quite make it over the tape. Great game and a super hold from Kukushkin under pressure.

2.02pmBoth men have started impressively on serve, with Kukushkin getting his first serve in 62% of the time and Rafa up at 81%.

Kukushkin *4-4 NadalQuick love-hold from Rafa and he'll now look to put Kukushkin on the back foot again. Neither man has earned a break point yet.

Kukushkin 5-4* NadalMuch better from the Kazakh as he holds to 15 to move within a game of the first set.

2.07pm

2.09pmAn interesting fact about Kukushkin: He is coached by his wife.

Kukushkin *5-5 NadalNo problem from Nadal as he easily holds to stay in the set. Will we see a break point before the tie-break? Doesn't look likely at the moment.

Kukushkin 6-5* NadalNadal starts the game poorly, quickly falling to 40-0 down after some mishit groundstrokes. He recovers to 40-30, but can't take it to deuce as Kukushkin finds a big serve that Nadal can't return.

Kukushkin 6-6(*0-0) NadalA love-hold from Nadal, who sends us into a tie-break with his second ace of the match.

First set tie-break: Kukushkin *2-1 NadalNadal breaks Kukushkin at the start, but the Kazakh responds with two straight points on the Nadal serve to move in front.

First set tie-break: Kukushkin 3-2* NadalNadal restores parity in the breaker with a HUGE forehand that plops into the corner.

First set tie-break: Kukushkin 4-2* NadalKukushkin goes back in front with an in-to-out forehand of his own. The pair change ends and it's the underdog in front.

First set tie-break: Kukushkin 6-3* NadalTHREE SET POINTS KUKUSHKIN! Nadal nets a backhand on the run.

First set tie-break: Kukushkin 6-4* NadalNadal saves the first with a vicious serve that goes right through Kukushkin's defence.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 0-0* NadalSET! Kukushkin is in front! Nadal loses the first set for the third straight time at this year's tournament to a man who, before this year, had never won at the All England Club.

2.26pmFirst set, mine.

Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin reacts after a point against Spain's Rafael Nadal during their men's singles third round match at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014© Getty Images

2.30pmThe rain is lashing down on the Centre Court roof as Nadal begins the second set. Things can only get better for the second seed, surely?

Kukushkin 7-6[4] *0-1 NadalNadal recovers from 15-30 down to hold serve and get in front at the start of the second.

2.34pm

2.36pmInterestingly, Nadal won two more points than Kukushkin in that first set, but didn't play well in the tie-break and that's why he came up short.

2.37pmPhenomenal defence from Kukushkin, but he can't put away the forehand and it's 30-30. He really is playing well here.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-1* NadalOnce again, Nadal can't force a break-point opportunity after getting to deuce. In fairness to Kukushkin, he's handled the high-pressure situations brilliantly so far.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] *1-2 NadalLove-hold for Rafa, his third of the match. Can he now pick himself up and earn that elusive break point?

Spain's Rafael Nadal sits on the grass after slipping against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin during their men's singles third round match on June 28, 2014© Getty Images

2.45pmNadal apologises to his opponent after a backhand return unintentionally swerves just over the net for a clean winner. We're at deuce once again.

2.46pmHere we go then. Kukushkin hits wide and we have our first break point after 77 minutes of play...

2.47pmIt's saved straight away as Kukushkin's first serve out wide is too hot for Nadal to handle.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-3* NadalBREAK! "VAMOS!" roars the Spaniard as he converts on his second break point to move clear in the second set. He managed to break thanks to a bullet backhand return that Kukushkin couldn't get back over the net.

2.52pmTwo sublime winners from Kukushkin, one off the forehand, one off the backhand, sees him move 15-30 ahead on the Nadal serve. Rafa responds with a gorgeous, dipping forehand of his own. 30-30.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] *1-4 NadalNadal consolidates the break, and now looks certain to level up the match at a set apiece.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-5* NadalDOUBLE BREAK! Wow! Shot of the game from Rafa as he back pedals to hit an unimaginable forehand across court to open up a double-break.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning a point in the second set during his men's singles second round match against Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol on June 26, 2014© Getty Images

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 *0-0 NadalSET! Easy peasy for Nadal as he hits two aces in a row to win the set and level it up at 1-1.

3.02pmA much better second set from Nadal, hitting 10 winners and just two unforced errors. Kukushkin had five and six.

3.03pmEntertaining start to the third as Nadal moves 0-30 in front with a rally that saw the ball travel to all parts of the court. Kukushkin slips to make it easy for Nadal to finish it off. The Kazakh is on his feet and looks fine to continue.

3.05pmNadal has a break point at the start of the third set as his forehand is simply too strong for Kukushkin.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 0-1* NadalBREAK! And he takes it with a heavy forehand return that Kukushkin can only net. That's six games in a row for Rafa and he's well on top after losing that first set.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 *0-2 NadalMake that seven games in a row for Nadal as he unleashes a backhand winner down the line. He's in complete control on Centre Court.

3.10pmThis is the scene outside Centre Court at Wimbledon. You have to feel for those who queued to get in and have been unable to see any tennis on the outside courts!

Fans sitting on Murray mound shelter under umbrellas as rain delays the start of play on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on June 28, 2014© Getty Images

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-2* NadalKukushkin puts a stop to the run of games against him and gets a big cheer from the crowd.

3.16pmAlthough Kukushkin continues to play aggressively, like he did when he won the first set, Nadal is handling his flat groundstrokes much better than he did early in the match.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 *1-3 NadalKukushkin is yet to have a break point on the Nadal serve and it doesn't look like he will any time soon.

3.20pmKukushkin incorrectly stops the point to challenge and then nets a forehand to go break point down...

3.20pmWell saved by the Kazakh to take the game to deuce. Going a double break down again would surely mean the end of the set for the world number 58.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-4* NadalDOUBLE BREAK! Nadal does convert at the next opportunity, looping those trademark heavy forehands into the Kazakh's backhand before sealing the double break with a neat volley into the open court.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 *1-5 NadalNadal moves to within a game of the third set by holding to 15 with a forehand winner. Kukushkin hasn't troubled the Spaniard's serve all afternoon and recently has lost control on his own serve. In the third seet, he's won less than half of the points when he's got his first serve in.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 0-0* NadalSET! Nadal takes the overall lead after yet another commanding set. He'll serve first in the fourth too after breaking Kukushkin for a third time in the set.

3.33pmNadal again impressive in the third set with a winner-unforced error ratio of 11:1. Kukushkin had just two winners after smacking 17 in the first set.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 *0-1 NadalA convincing hold from the second seed to start the fourth. Can he move ahead early like he did in sets two and three?

3.35pmKukushkin moves up 30-0, but then loses three points in a row to face break point. A big serve out wide saves it so we're at deuce.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 0-2* NadalBREAK! Nadal does break at the next time of asking as Kukushkin's cross-court backhand loops up off the tape and drops just wide.

3.38pmSuperb return on the run from Kukushkin and he has TWO BREAK-BACK POINTS. They're his first of the match after over two hours of play.

3.40pm

3.40pmPoor from Kukushkin as he sends both returns out to let Nadal off the hook easily.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 *0-3 NadalNadal comes through after his sternest test on serve so far. He now needs to win just three more games to book his place in the fourth round.

3.42pmIf Nadal does come through as expected he will play either Nick Kyrgios or Jiri Vesely in the last 16.

3.45pmKukushkin has lost all of the zest that he had in the first set and is facing another break point but saves it to take the game to deuce.

3.48pm@Wimbledon on Twitter: "Unfortunately there will be no play before 1630 BST on the outside courts #Wimbledon."

3.48pmKukushkin has the chance to hold, but Nadal won't let him as he whips back a forehand return before curling home a winner to bring it back to deuce.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 1-3* NadalKukushkin gets a warm round of applause from Centre Court as he manages to hold after saving four double-break points.

3.53pmRafa's roar crescendoes as a down-the-line forehand dips onto the line. Vintage Nadal, what a shot.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 *1-4 NadalNadal's second-serve stats are particularly impressive. He's won 21 of the 27 points when he hasn't got his first serve in.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 1-5* NadalDOUBLE BREAK! The end is near for Kukushkin as Nadal breaks to 30. The number two seed will now serve for the match on Centre.

4.01pmHis tournament is about to end, but Kukushkin has just produced the shot of the match with a casual on-the-run forehand that somehow found the corner.

Kukushkin 7-6[4] 1-6 1-6 1-6 NadalGAME, SET AND MATCH NADAL!

4.03pmWhat a way to finish it for Nadal as he blasts a forehand into the corner to seal victory. He lost the first set on a tie-break, but then romped through the last three 6-1 6-1 6-1. He's into the last 16 and will face either Nick Kyrgios or Jiri Vesely (both unseeded).

4.06pmWe need to dash off, but if you're just joining us and want a recap on the match, you can find our report here. Good afternoon!

Rafael Nadal of Spain during his Gentlemen's Singles second round match against Lukas Rosol on June 26, 2014
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1Scotland flag Andy Murray7,750
2Spain Rafael Nadal7,555
3Switzerland Roger Federer7,145
4Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka5,780
5Serbia Novak Djokovic5,325
6Croatia Marin Cilic5,155
7Alexander Zverev4,470
8Austria Dominic Thiem4,030
9Japan Kei Nishikori3,285
10Canada Milos Raonic3,230
11Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov3,070
12France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga2,770
13Belgium David Goffin2,560
14Spain Roberto Bautista Agut2,425
15Czech Republic Tomas Berdych2,390
16United States Jack Sock2,335
17Pablo Carreno Busta2,305
18Lucas Pouille2,220
19United States John Isner2,110
20United States Sam Querrey2,060
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