Although it’s hard to say that the match is deserving of Rod Laver Arena over the Men’s Singles matches chosen, it is somewhat of a surprise to see last year’s losing finalist on Margaret Court Arena. Rafael Nadal will play Damir Dzumhur to begin the night session with the winner going on to face Alexander Dolgopolov or Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.
After escaping in five sets against Paolo Lorenzi, the Bosnian had it slightly easier in round two with a 4 set win over home favourite John Millman, 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-1. Dzumhur has been showing improvement for the past few years and is currently at his career high ranking of 30. Live rankings currently have him slotting in at a new high of 28 although his likely third round exit may not be enough to stave off the number of players below him still in the tournament.
Nadal won 80% of points on his first serve in round two to help him on his way to a straight sets win over Leonardo Mayer. The Argentinian fought well but only made an impact on return near the end, breaking to stay in the match down 4-5*. Nadal was not too down on his failure to serve out the match, instead crediting Mayer with having played a great game to stay in the match.
Nadal retired down 0-3 in his only meeting with Dzumhur, back in 2016 at Miami. “He improved a lot from there. He is a tough opponent. He’s a tricky one. He knows how to play tennis very well. He play with the right tactic always. Is a player that don’t going to give you nothing, no? The only way to win is play in a high rhythm than him and try to play aggressive, try to put the highest intensity possible out there.” Nadal said. High intensity is what you are always going to get from Nadal he should have no issues making round 4 on this occasion.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets