AP Photo/Andy BrownbillRafael Nadal defeated Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets (6-2, 6-3, 6-4) to win his second-round Australian Open matchup Wednesd
AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
Rafael Nadal defeated Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets (6-2, 6-3, 6-4) to win his second-round Australian Open matchup Wednesday from Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
The 35-year-old Spaniard, who is the No. 6 seed in the men’s draw, will continue the quest for his 21st Grand Slam singles title and second Australian Open win.
Hanfmann put up a great fight in the first set, earning the match’s first break point opportunity with the score tied at two games apiece.
However, Nadal won the next three points to hold serve before breaking Hanfmann himself for a 4-2 edge.
The German earned another break point opportunity with Nadal serving up 4-2, but once again, the 2009 Australian Open champion won three straight points. Nadal then broke Hanfmann once more to win the first set 6-2.
The left-hander’s magic was on full display the entire match, as evidenced by this first-set forehand:
Hanfmann was on the ropes for much of the second set, with Nadal earning break point opportunities each time the qualifier served.
Hanfmann gamely held off Nadal’s chances four times over three games, but the world’s No. 5 men’s player finally won a break to go up 5-3 before holding serve for the second-set win.
In the third set, Hanfmann held off three Nadal break opportunities to win the first game, and he held off the first two chances in the second game. However, Nadal broke Hanfmann in his third try and held serve from there for the straight-sets win.
For the match, Nadal won 35-of-46 first-serve points and 25-of-39 second-serve points. He also converted 4-of-16 break points.
Nadal’s victory propels him into the third round, where the 20-time Grand Slam singles winner will face the winner of a second-round match between No. 28 Karen Khachanov and Benjamin Bonji.
The five-time Australian Open finalist enters the tournament having made the tournament quarterfinals each of the past five years. This year’s journey began with a straight-sets win over Marcos Giron in the first round.
The 30-year-old Hanfmann’s Australian Open run is over, but his perseverance was still impressive.
Hanfmann lost in the first round of all four Grand Slam tournaments last year as he looked for his first-ever win in a major draw.
This year, he earned his way into the draw through qualifiers and defeated wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets to face Nadal.
In the end, Nadal earned the victory as he searches to lead the all-time men’s Grand Slam singles titles list by himself. He, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic currently have 20 apiece.