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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal stays on track in Melbourne

By Dejan Kalinic At Melbourne Park
Rafael Nadal

Melbourne, January 19: Rafael Nadal remains on track for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after getting past Yannick Hanfmann at the Australian Open.

Nadal, bidding to become the outright record holder for the most majors won by a man, was too good for Hanfmann in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the second round on Wednesday (January 19).

The Spanish star had won his only previous meeting with the German – at the French Open in 2019 – and proved too strong on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal will face either Russian 28th seed Karen Khachanov or Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in the third round.

Hanfmann held his own early, but Nadal landed the first break in the sixth game, a backhand winner down the line followed by a volley to give him a 4-2 lead.

A break point went begging for Hanfmann in the next game and Nadal punished him, a tremendous backhand winner down the line clinching the set.

Just as the sixth game looked set to be Hanfmann's undoing again, the German saved a break point and held for 3-3.

But a pair of forehand winners would give Nadal a 5-3 lead on his way to taking the second set.

The contest looked over as Nadal broke for 2-1 in the third set when Hanfmann sent a forehand long to end a 22-shot rally.

And that proved to be the case, Nadal digging out of a 0-30 hole in the eighth game – and jumping in celebration – before closing out his win with another tough hold.

DATA SLAM: Nadal's second-round perfection in Melbourne intact

Nadal has never lost in the Australian Open second round.

He improved that record to 16-0 with the win over Hanfmann. Only once in his career has the 2009 champion bowed out before the third round in Melbourne – losing to Fernando Verdasco in his opener in 2016.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 30/26

Hanfmann – 30/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 1/5

Hanfmann – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 4/16

Hanfmann – 0/2

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 11:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 19, 2022