Rafael Nadal is into the third round of the Australian Open for the 16th time of his career after beating Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 6-3 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal, one of the favourites to win this year’s Grand Slam in Melbourne, is yet to drop a set in his opening two matches.
The Spaniard had to work hard for victory, taking two hours and 43 minutes to overcome Hanfmann, whose error count increased as the match progressed.
'An extraordinary line-up' - Tsitsipas, Ruud join Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray for Laver Cup
Nadal said afterwards he knew the world No. 126 would be "dangerous" to play against.
"I played him in the first round of Roland Garros a couple of years ago," he said. "I know he's dangerous. Coming from the qualifiers he was used to the court and is a player with big shots, a good serve and high potential.
"Today his level of tennis was much higher than what his ranking says without a doubt so I wish him all the very best. He's a great guy."
Explaining how he keeps fit, Nadal said: "I play some golf. I'm not a gym guy. I'm more a fan of playing sports. Unfortunately a couple of years ago with the knees and the foot I was not able to play different sports like I used to.
"Today I had to be more focused on things that in the past I was not. I probably work around one hour 30 minutes every day in the gym but I honestly never did a lot of weights."
'I play golf, I've never been a gym guy' - Nadal jokes about his fitness training
Hanfmann, who surprisingly knocked out Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round, started well against Nadal with his net play upsetting the Spaniard’s rhythm.
He squandered a break point at 2-2 and Nadal made him pay by going on to win the next four games – saving another break point at 4-2 – to take the opening set in 48 minutes.
The second set was another tough test for Nadal with Hanfmann doing just enough to stay in his own service games, but the 2009 Australian Open champion broke to go 5-3 up before converting his third set point on his own serve.
After an epic 22-shot rally, Nadal converted another point in the third game of the third set to take a 2-1 lead.
Hanfmann continued to battle and hit some impressive winners off his backhand and at the net. He also saved four match points late on, but Nadal sealed the tie with his fifth.
'Chocolate is over!' - Nadal laughs about his diet after victory at Australian Open
- - -
You can stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99.
Nadal confirms he will play in Cincinnati ahead of US Open
'I have to follow the rules' - Why Medvedev thinks missing Wimbledon may help for US Open
Share this article