Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day three - Kyle Edmund cruises as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki squeak through
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day three - Kyle Edmund cruises as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki squeak through
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day three - Kyle Edmund cruises as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki squeak through
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day three - Kyle Edmund cruises as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki squeak through
Here is what you missed overnight on day three at the Australian Open... Edmund eases into round three Britain's only player in the men's draw kept the nation's hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 thumping of the dangerous Denis Istomin in just 1hr 29min. Istomin pulled off an almighty upset at last year's Australian Open when he beat the six-time champion Novak Djokovic, but he had no answer this morning to Edmund's ferocious power. The Brit hit 38 winners, alongside just 20 unforced errors, and he said afterwards: "It was a professional performance. After having four hours on court on Monday, to get it done a lot quicker today will do me good." Next up for Edmund will be Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61, on Friday. And the draw is opening up to such an extent for Edmund that he can't meet a higher ranked player until the quarter-final. CE Kyle Edmund impressively thrashed Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin Credit: REUTERS Nadal forced to dig deep While the scoreline looked straightforward, world No 1 Rafael Nadal had to produce some of his best tennis to fend off the spirited challenge of Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Nadal served beautifully - landing 74 per cent of his first serves in - and played a superb third set tie-break to come through 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Perhaps most encouraging for the Spaniard was how well he moved, with his recent knee troubles seemingly not a major issue at this tournament. Having not dropped a set at this year's Australian Open so far, Nadal continues his quest for a 17th grand slam title on Friday against Bosnia's 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. CE Rafael Nadal celebrates during his win over Leonardo Mayer Credit: Getty Images The comeback king and queen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Caroline Wozniacki both recovered from seemingly impossible positions to book their places in the third round. While Tsonga recovered from 5-2 down in the fifth set of his match with exciting youngster Denis Shapovalov to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory, world No 2 Wozniacki saved two match points against Croatia's Jana Fett. The 21-year-old Fett had only won her first grand slam match on Monday but nerves coupled with Wozniacki grit saw the former world No 1 reel off six games in a row for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Tsonga was at his showboating best en route to defeating Shapovalov on Margaret Court Arena this morning, producing a stunning 'hot-dog' in the latter stages of the match which lasted 3 hr 37 min. VH Still alive!����— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 17, 2018 Kyrgios overcomes distractions to stay on track The 17th seeded Nick Kyrgios kept his cool to reach the third round and set up a showdown with Tsonga after overcoming tricky opponent Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Kyrgios was agitated by noise coming from umpire James Keothavong's microphone and shout-outs from fans at inopportune moments but didn't let the disruptions affect his concentration. Keothavong's night got worse during the third set tiebreak as a wayward backhand return from Troicki caught the top of the umpire's head. He joked: "It's not my day, is it?" Kyrgios has advanced beyond the third round only once at his home slam when he reached the last eight three years ago. VH Poor James���� #Kyrgios#Troicki#Keothavong#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6jU0eAIlPh— Mike (@mrenzaero) January 17, 2018 New kid on the block Qualifier Marta Kostyuk has become the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 1996. The 15-year-old Ukrainian entered the season-opening major ranked at No 521 and followed up her first-round win over 25th seed Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska. Kostyuk had already played three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours to earn her place at this year's major, and then became the youngest player since Martina Hingis 22 years ago to win a main-draw match. The teenager is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Roger Federer, and says he has been key to her development. Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshare's three-part series on the unseen side of top-level tennis "Ivan is always helping me ... after every match, he's telling me what's wrong," she said afterwards with a smile. The youngster was handed a code violation during her win after the umpire ruled she had received coaching from her mother in the stands. Kostyuk now faces compatriot and No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in the next round. VH Seed slayers brought back down to earth Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuaiboth failed to follow up their first-round exploits as they were brought back down to earth. Bencic had knocked out out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, but slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat against Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum today. Zhang, conqueror of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who claimed a 6-4 7-6 win. "It was not the issue that I was still thinking about the Venus win," Bencic said. "I had re-set and focused but it was a tough second round. I've played her a few times and it's always been really difficult. "But I'm still pretty positive. The start to the year has been better than I could have imagined." VH Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won yet another epic match Credit: AFP Match of the day It wouldn't be a grand slam tournament without an Ivo Karlovic epic, and the 38-year-old duly obliged as he edged Yuichi Sugita 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in 4hr 33min. Upset of the day Relatively few shocks on day three, but the 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova getting thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Kateryna Bondarenko was a big surprise. Quote of the day Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk on how she will spend her £82,400 winnings so far: "Well, I already know a little bit where I'm going to spend this, but I didn't really think of some big investment or something. "I'm keeping my money. It's like I got it and I will go and spend. Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course. Because I have a big family." Stat of the day Marin Cilic won a whopping 92 per cent of points on serve in his straight sets win against Joao Sousa. Shot of the day Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's incredible improvisation to produce a hot dog when serving to stay in the match against Denis Shapovalov took the Margaret Court Arena crowd's breath away. Another terrific tweener at the Australian Open​... this time from Jo Wilfried Tsonga​ �� pic.twitter.com/1B8fyjPZuT— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 17, 2018 Tweet of the day Is my brother ok? �� #AusOpen— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) January 17, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils (third on Rod Laver Arena) could have the feel of an exhibition match, while British No 1 Johanna Konta continues her campaign against Bernarda Pera (first on Court 2). There could also be fireworks in top seed Simona Halep's night match against Eugenie Bouchard (first match of the evening session on Margaret Court Arena).
Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a forehand return to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Dimitrov holds off American McDonald 8-6 in 5th in Australia
Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a forehand return to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Spain's Rafael Nadal dashes to reach the ball as he plays Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Dimitrov holds off American McDonald 8-6 in 5th in Australia
Spain's Rafael Nadal dashes to reach the ball as he plays Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates a point win over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Dimitrov holds off American McDonald 8-6 in 5th in Australia
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates a point win over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a backhand return to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
The Latest: Dimitrov scrapes into 3rd round at Aussie Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a backhand return to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Two big names came close to suffering early exits from the Australian Open on Wednesday as Rafael Nadal made it through with ease.
Dimitrov, Tsonga survive gruelling battles as Nadal cruises through
Two big names came close to suffering early exits from the Australian Open on Wednesday as Rafael Nadal made it through with ease.
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal refuses to be drawn into players' union debate after reaching third round
World number one Rafael Nadal kept his cards close to his chest when quizzed on the prospect of boycotting the 2019 Australian Open.
Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk
World number one Rafael Nadal kept his cards close to his chest when quizzed on the prospect of boycotting the 2019 Australian Open.
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Nadal pushed but wins in three
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Nadal pushed but wins in three
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Nadal pushed but wins in three
Top seed Rafael Nadal is through to the third round of the Australian Open, but didn't have it all his own way against Argentina, Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal's march towards a 17th Grand Slam crown was never threatened by Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who took him to a third set tiebreak before being swatted aside 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) (AFP Photo/Paul Crock)
Rafael Nadal's march towards a 17th Grand Slam crown was never threatened by Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who took him to a third set tiebreak before being swatted aside 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Rafael Nadal's march towards a 17th Grand Slam crown was never threatened by Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who took him to a third set tiebreak before being swatted aside 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) (AFP Photo/Paul Crock)
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer reacts during his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer reacts during his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal prepares to serve during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal prepares to serve during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer applauds after losing his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer applauds after losing his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Leonardo Mayer of Argentina serves against Rafael Nadal of Spain. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Leonardo Mayer of Argentina serves against Rafael Nadal of Spain. REUTERS/Issei Kato
8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round
Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday. While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break. Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins. The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets. Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur. 8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time. It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support. Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere. Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle. Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal. He's into the third round without having dropped a set. The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo. 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match. 8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round. 8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal. Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up. 8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead. 8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer. 8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal. 8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard. We're into a third set tie-break. 8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match). Nadal will serve to stay in the third set. Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve. Mayer is still alive! 7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there. 7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker? Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment. 7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold. Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set. 7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold. 7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold. 7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent. 7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand. Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here. Nadal a set away from the third round. Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner. Nadal will serve for the second set. New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row. 7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold. 6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye. 6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand. Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner. 6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level. 6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising. Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent. Nadal a set and a break up. Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long. Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set. 6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold. Nadal will serve for the first set. 6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees. Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set. 6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
World number one Rafael Nadal claimed another straightforward win at the Australian Open, beating Leonardo Mayer.
Nadal too good for Mayer at Australian Open
World number one Rafael Nadal claimed another straightforward win at the Australian Open, beating Leonardo Mayer.

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