Nadal In Full Flight For Opening Test
Hugo Dellien won plenty of new fans with his inspired effort on Tuesday, but Rafael Nadal handily won their first-round clash at the Australian Open. The top-seeded Spaniard moved past the Bolivian 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 and continued the quest for his first Melbourne crown in 11 years.
Dellien handled his new surroundings well in the early stages, stepping into his returns and making it clear that he was ready to fight. But despite the Bolivian holding nine game points in the first four games, Nadal’s relentless baseline slugging proved too strong and he led 5-0 after 39 minutes. The top seed’s only minor blip came as he attempted to serve out the set at 5-1, but he recovered with a strong forehand in the next game to take the early lead.
Nadal cleaned up his game in his second set, beefing up his first-serve percentage (54% to 67%) and reducing his error count from the baseline. Although Dellien managed to break at 4-2 to get the set back on serve, the moment only intensified Nadal’s focus. The Spaniard sprinted through eight of the last 10 points for a commanding advantage.
The grueling baseline rallies finally took their toll on Dellien and Nadal quickly seized his opportunity. The World No. 1 dominated the final set with a sublime display of power tennis, hitting 18 winners to just five enforced errors to advance in two hours and two minutes. He improved to 62-13 at the first major of the year.
Nadal awaits the winner of Argentine Federico Delbonis and Argentine Joao Sousa. He holds a 3-0 lead against both players in their respective ATP Head2Head rivalries.
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