Nadal powers through to Open third round

World No.1 Rafael Nadal has powered through to the round of 32 at the Australian Open, defeating Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.

The 2009 champion again looked untroubled on Wednesday by his recent knee issues, claiming a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory in two hours and 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal will face Bosnian No.28 seed Damir Dzumhur – who earlier edged out local favourite John Millman – in Friday’s third round.

After dropping just three games in his first-round defeat of Dominican Estrella Burgos, Nadal was forced to dig deeper in his fifth career meeting with 30-year-old Mayer.

The 16-time grand slam winner had his serve broken at 5-4 and was forced to a tiebreaker in a third set which lasted 69 minutes.

An animated Nadal leapt into the air and pumped his fist with delight after sending a searing forehand winner down the line to go up 4-2 before serving out the match.

The Spaniard racked up 40 winners and just 10 unforced errors compared to 33 for his opponent.

“It’s an important victory for me,” Nadal said.

“He was a tough opponent. Leonardo is a player with big potential – he hits the ball so strong. I had to hit some great shots in the tiebreak.

“Happy to be in the third round of course …. second victory in a row, it’s very important news for me.”

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