Australian Open: That was a tough one, says Rafael Nadal after win

Updated: 18 January, 2018 09:03 IST | Agencies | Melbourne

World No. 1 Spaniard Rafael Nadal says he needed to hit some great shots to beat hard-hitting Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 in the second-round

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates a point against Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer during their Australian Open second round match in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates a point against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their Australian Open second round match in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal looked in ominous form as he powered into the Australian Open third round with a straight sets victory yesterday, a workout he deemed very important in his return from a knee injury. Spain's World No. 1 only dropped serve once in a dominant performance as he reeled off a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over 52nd-ranked Argentine Leonardo Mayer in 2hr 38 min on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal will face Bosnia-Herzegovina's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur in the third round. It was a masterly performance from the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who conceded only 10 unforced errors, stacked up against his 40 winners.

Argentine Leonardo Mayer
Argentine Leonardo Mayer

"It was an important victory for me, he's a tough opponent," Nadal said. "Leonardo is a player with big potential, he hits the ball so strong and you could see in the last couple of games how tough was he. I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break, he's a very dangerous opponent. "I am happy to be in the third round after being out of competition for a while, a second victory in a row is very important to me." He now faces Dzumhur in the next round tomorrow, when temperatures are forecast to hit 40 Celsius with Nadal urging organisers to shut the roof when he plays. "The only thing that I hope, if it is extreme conditions, I hope the organisers shut the roof. I think it's a health issue," he said. "Even I like sometimes to play when it's hot. When it's too much, it becomes dangerous for health."

Dimitrov survives scare
Relieved World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov survived a massive scare to beat American qualifier MacKenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6 to reach the third round yesterday.

Kyrgios advances too
Nick Kyrgios had to deal with off-court distractions as he brushed aside Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 to reach the third round yesterday. The explosive Australian 17th seed was in control, but had to cope with a disruptive fan, an inoperative court microphone and a helicopter hovering persistently over the chaotic Hisense Arena.

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First Published: 18 January, 2018 08:18 IST

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