Rafael Nadal cruises into Australian Open third round

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Rafael Nadal eased past qualifier Yannick Hanfmann to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

Sixth seed Nadal, bidding for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title, beat Germany’s Hanfmann 6-2 6-3 6-4.

Hanfmann saved four match points, including two on the Spaniard’s serve, before the 2009 champion secured victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal will face 28th seed Karen Khachanov next after the Russian beat France’s Benjamin Bonzi 6-4 6-0 7-5.

Nadal, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, is the only former champion remaining in the men’s draw.

He cut short his 2021 season because of a foot injury but has made a strong return, winning his first tournament back in the build-up to the Australian Open.

When asked about staying fit, Nadal joked: “I play some golf – I have never been a gym guy.”

He created 16 break point chances against the German, converting four of them, and hit 30 winners on his way to victory.

Nadal said he did not have “big pressure on my shoulders” as he attempts to surpass Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic’s record of 20 Slam titles.

“I’m excited about the fact that I’m going to be playing in a third round for one more time here after all the things I am going through,” he said.

“The pressure is only to stay healthy and to enjoy the fact that I am competing again, then give my best as I did during all my tennis career.”


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