Aus Open: Nadal reaches third round with easy victory

MELBOURNE, FEB 11 (AGENCIES/IANS) | Publish Date: 2/11/2021 1:54:01 PM IST

Rafael Nadal dispelled any remaining doubts over his fitness with a commanding 6-1 6-4 6-2 win against American qualifier Michael Mmoh on Thursday to march into the Australian Open third round and stay on track for a record 21st Grand Slam title. The second seed did not play a match in Spain’s ATP Cup campaign last week with a back problem and following his opening win in Melbourne he had said the injury was still bothering him.

Nadal showed no sign of discomfort, however, against the 177th-ranked American under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena and peppered the blue court with winners from both forehand and backhand sides as Mmoh watched on helplessly.

The 2009 Melbourne Park winner, who is tied with Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, will next meet either Briton Cameron Norrie or Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin.

Divij Sharan & Ankita Raina crash out
India’s Divij Sharan and Ankita Raina on Thursday lost their respective first-round matches in men’s doubles and women’s doubles event to crash out of the Australian Open Grand Slam.
Sharan, alongside Igor Zelenay of Slovakia, lost 1-6, 4-6 to the German pair Kevin Krawietz and Yannick Hanfmann in a match that lasted one hour and four minutes.
In women’s doubles event, Raina -- who partnered with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu -- suffered a 3-6, 0-6 defeat to Australian pair of Belinda Woolcock and Olivia Gadecki in one hour and four minutes.
Defending champion Sofia Kenin bows out in 2nd round
Defending champion Sofia Kenin crashed out of the Australian Open after suffering a straight-sets defeat to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in their second-round contest here on Thursday.
Kanepi beat World No.4 6-3 6-2 in a match that lasted just 64 minutes to cause what has been the biggest shock of the women’s tournament so far. This was her 13th victory over a current Top 10 player, eight of which have come at Grand Slam tournaments.
The 35-year-old Estonian veteran admitted she was nervous about the match-up. “She’s obviously a tough player and she’s playing big. We’ll see how it’s going to go,” she added.
Kanepi has also won six of her seven matches this season, having reached her first WTA singles final since 2013 just last week at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne Park.
She will next take on 28th seed Donna Vekic.
Svitolina sees off Coco challenge to reach 3rd round
Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina made good use of limited opportunities against American teenager Coco Gauff to reach the Australian Open third round with a 6-4 6-3 victory on Thursday.
The 16-year-old Gauff, the youngest player in the main draw at Melbourne Park, took the tournament by storm last year, taking down Venus Williams, SoranaCirstea and Naomi Osaka en route to the fourth round. Already touted as the successor to the Williams sisters, Gauff made a promising start to her bid for another upset victory in her fledging career when she set up a break point opportunity on Svitolina’s first service game.
But the Ukrainian stayed firm to hold and denied Gauff on three more occasions during the 77-minute contest under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena.
The steely Svitolina converted two out of her three break point opportunities against the big-hitting world number 48 to seal the fate of the match in what was their first meeting.
Svitolina next meets Kazakh 26th seed YuliaPutintseva, who beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4 1-6 6-2, having won almost 80% of her first serve points against Gauff.


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