World No. 1 Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round at the Australian Open on Thursday with a three-set win over Argentine Federico Delbonis.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who has won 19 Grand Slams including the 2009 Australian title, won 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-1 in two hours and 30 minutes.
“It was the first time playing during the evening here, and the conditions were cooler and slow,” Nadal said during an on-court interview at Rod Laver Arena. “It was a tough match, I lost an awful lot of opportunities on the break points, but I found a way to win. I think in the third set, I was more relaxed and played aggressively.”
Nadal took the first set in 49 minutes, then took charge thanks to his serving consistency in the second set tie-break, which ended with an unreturned serve. Through two sets, Nadal was just 1-for-18 on break points.
“I am happy that I was able to serve all the first serves in the tie-break and play, I think, a good tie-break,” said Nadal. “I needed to win that second set. In the third, again, I played much better. … I need to play better. Especially, I need to convert the break points.”
The top-seeded Nadal will next face fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, the No. 27 seed, who defeated German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes.
Also advancing was fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, who breezed past Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
“I think there are still some things to improve. I think I could be more aggressive (in a) few moments of the match,” Medvedev said. “Of course, when you win three sets, you don’t want to discuss your level too much. Happy with the win, happy with the win in three sets without a tie-break finally.”
Next up for Medvedev is unseeded Aussie Alexei Popyrin, who beat Spaniard Jaume Munar, 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria had a tougher time of it Thursday vs. Australian wild card Alex Bolt, winning 12 of the last 15 games in a 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 comeback to reach Round 3.
Awaiting him in the next round is No. 29 seed Taylor Fritz, who rallied from two sets down to beat South African Kevin Anderson, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2.
Other top seeds advancing included No. 7 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 10 Gael Monfils of France, No. 11 David Goffin of Belgium, No. 15 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, No. 16 Karen Khachanov of Russia, No. 16 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 19 John Isner and No. 23 Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
–Field Level Media