Australian Open: Nadal wraps up comfortable first week to move into last 16

By Sports Desk February 13, 2021

Rafael Nadal rounded off a comfortable first week at the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Cameron Norrie to reach the last 16.

The Spaniard triumphed 7-5 6-2 7-5 in two hours and 14 minutes on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

Nadal was short of his brilliant best but a third-round victory never looked in doubt from the moment he emerged triumphant from a competitive opening set.

He will face number 16 seed Fabio Fognini, who defeated home favourite Alex de Minaur, in the fourth round.

The world number two will fancy his chances of a first Australian Open title since 2009, especially with defending champion Novak Djokovic struggling with an injury.

Nadal is yet to drop a set or even be taken to a tie-break at the tournament but he almost was by Norrie in the first meeting between the players.

World number 69 Norrie claimed the first break of the match in the fifth game when Nadal found the net with a forehand.

But the 20-time grand slam champion immediately broke back and then pivotally struck again while Norrie was serving to stay in the set at 6-5.

Norrie was unable to force a break point in the match, with Nadal racing clear to break twice and secure the second set.

The Briton saved two break points early in the third set but that was only delaying the inevitable.

It again looked like Norrie would force a tie-break, but once more Nadal struck when it mattered at 6-5, a forehand winner setting up match point that was converted when his opponent sent a backhand wide.

Data Slam: Nadal punishes Norrie second serve

Norrie won only seven of 30 points on his second serve, his 23 per cent win rate falling well short of Nadal in that category (18/26, 69 per cent). The match was competitive apart from the second set, where four winners and 14 unforced errors from Norrie meant Nadal did not need to do much to go two ahead and put the result beyond doubt.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Norrie– 25/43
Nadal– 33/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Norrie– 9/4
Nadal– 7/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Norrie– 1/1
Nadal– 5/12

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