MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Top seed Rafa Nadal continued his marauding path through the Australian Open, hammering Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-3 6-4 7-6 (4) to reach the third round on Wednesday.
Channelling his early years with a sleeveless shirt, the muscular Mallorcan threw Mayer like a rag-doll around the Rod Laver Arena court for two hours and 38 minutes, pounding the world number 52 with a barrage of top-spin bombs.
A masterful performance was blighted only by a late wobble, when Nadal was broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the decider.
But the Spaniard found an extra gear in the tiebreak, wrapping up the match with a monster serve to the corner that Mayer battled to get a racket to.
Nadal’s bid for a 17th grand slam title continues against Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty