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|This will surprisingly be the first meeting between Nadal and Golubev considering that Golubev has been a regular on the main ATP Tour since 2008 and plays plenty of clay court tournaments. Despite not playing him, in all likelihood Nadal will go into this match knowing plenty about his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.||While he’s never played Nadal, Golubev has recently played a Top 5 player on hard courts. Unfortunately for his chances here, in that match he got blown away by Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-4 in Indian Wells. At the time, Djokovic was ranked No. 3.|
|Nadal burned the fingers of his right hand at a Japanese restaurant two weeks ago during a tournament in Cincinnati. Nadal has said that injury has healed, and if that is the case, Nadal should have no trouble in moving into the second round.||Golubev will have to play a near flawless match, and hope that Nadal’s game and focus aren't up to his usual standards. Not likely, particular at a Grand Slam.|
|Since losing to Novak Djokovic in the finals of Wimbledon, Nadal has been in a relative slump. In his only two tournaments since, he lost to Mardy Fish in the quarters of Cincinnati, and to unheralded Ivan Dodig in the second round of Montreal.||Golubev had a decent summer on hard courts in 2011. He beat No. 14-ranked Stanislas Wawinka to reach the second round of Cincinnati, then reached the second round of Winston-Salem as well.|
|Nadal hasn’t won a tournament since taking the French Open in May, failing to win a title in his last four events. He will likely be very hungry in this event to add to his three titles in 2011.||Going into this match Golubev has plenty of motivation of his own. Over a quarter of his ranking points come from his performance in last September’s ATP event in Kuala Lumpur. With those ranking points due to expire at the end of September of 2011, he’s going to need to accumulate points in a hurry to keep from free-falling out of the top 150.|
|Nadal has won 46 Career titles to Golubev’s one.||Golubev has just a 6-24 match record in 2011 vs. Nadal’s 53-10.|
|One of Nadal’s great strengths is keeping things in perspective. He seems to feel little pressure as the defending champion. “Pressure? I don’t feel pressure,” he said before the tournament. “I am happy about how I did. I didn’t play very well during the summer, but I am practicing much better here. So, we’ll see."||Golubev has a relaxed demeanor on court. He has nothing to lose against Nadal, so certainly in this match if there were any pressure it is squarely on Nadal’s shoulders. This should help Golubev.|