World No. 5 Rafael Nadal defeated France’s Adrian Mannarino (69th) in the first set to advance to the quarterfinals, winning 7-6 (16/14), 6-2, 6-2. – Australian Open finals.
“The first set was very tense. I’m a little lucky because I got the chance, but so was he,” the 35-year-old Spaniard analyzed.
“Without the slightest doubt, I’m so glad I survived this first set!”, He added. “Then the interval of the second set is very important.”
Titled 2009, Nadal will face either Alexander Sverev (3rd) of Germany or Denis Shapovalov (14th) of Canada to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday.
Under the scorching sun, Mannarino made life difficult for the Spanish players in the first round, where both players played at the highest level and lasted 81 minutes.
At 5-5, the Frenchman received a break point from his opponent, and both came to a tie-break, which was breathtaking in both quality and intensity of the game and the suspense.
During this crucial match that lasted 28 minutes (!), Nadal saved four sets of points and finished his seventh game! He never needed so many points (30) to win a decisive game in the circuit.
But, then, the Mannarino Dam, probably damaged in the abdomen, gave way. He lost the second set in 39 minutes and then, deceiving himself early in the third set and returning 1-1, he lost four games in a row. For a 5-2 victory, Nadal finished with his first match point.
Nadal, who holds the Grand Slam title (20) with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, is the only major to have won the Major Australian Open once.
He was sidelined with a leg injury in the 2021 season and suffered from covia in December, but in the absence of his two main rivals he is convincing himself to be the most serious candidate for the title. This is his 21st Grand Slam, a new record.