Rafael Nadal cruises past home favourite Alex de Minaur to reach the fourth round of Australian Open
- Rafael Nadal has reached the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets
- The Spaniard saw off the challenge of Alex de Minaur with ease on Friday
- His 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory sets up a meeting with veteran Tomas Berdych
Rafael Nadal sent out a statement by crushing Australian hope Alex De Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Nineteen-year-old De Minaur won the warm-up tournament in Sydney and had been touted as the home country’s best hope for success in the men’s draw.
But the scoreline was exactly the same as in their meeting at Wimbledon last summer.
Rafael Nadal has his arms outstretched as he celebrates victory over Alex de Minaur
Nadal was at the top of his game on Friday as he cruised into the last 16 in Melbourne
The Spaniard comfortably dispatched home favourite de Minaur in straight sets
The second seed comfortably controlled baseline exchanges, forcing the young Australian to take ever greater risks to compete with the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
De Minaur showed great fighting spirit to make a game of it in the third set and saved five match points
But Nadal was simply too strong and moved through to an intriguing clash with Tomas Berdych.
Nadal said of the last game: ‘He’s a big fighter and he’s super quick. I played a great game until 40-0. That match point he saved was unbelievable. Probably he’s the fastest on the tour.
De Minaur was broken early in the first set and struggled to gain a foothold in the match
‘I think I played a very solid match. I want to congratulate Alex for a great start to the season. I think he has an amazing future.’
On facing Berdych, Nadal added: ‘When you are coming back from a tough period of injuries, when you’re playing well, the energy is even higher.
‘I predict a very, very difficult match. I need to be at my best, I think I am on the right way. I need to keep it going.’
The match on Rod Laver Arena was played against a stunning backdrop at sunset