The World No.1 Rafael Nadal plays his second round match on Wednesday morning, as he looks to go one step further than his final run of last year. He is favoured to do so, with Leonardo Mayer the next obstacle for the Spaniard.
Nadal was brutally efficient on day 1, sending Victor Estrella Burgos packing in 97 minutes, dropping just 3 games and breaking the veteran’s serve at will. There were never any doubts over his advancing to the second round but the emphatic nature was perhaps a little surprising. There were some worries over Nadal’s fitness before the tournament but he insisted there was nothing to be concerned about. “If I did not feel ready I would not be here. I’m happy to be back,” he said.
His opponent is one that he has dominated in the past, winning all 4 matches against the Argentinian Mayer. The most recent of those was a 3-1 victory at last year’s US Open. Nadal was a set and break points down in that match before turning it up a notch to ensure he advanced on his way to another slam title. Mayer was a comfortable winner over Nicolas Jarry in his first round match, ensuring the Chilean remains winless at grand slams in his short career.
You can’t really say that anyone will have been confident about defeating Nadal early on but it has to be a minor relief to him to see John Isner exiting in round one given the American has troubled him in the past. Seeds Damir Dzumhur and Diego Schwartzman look far from daunting prospects in the next few rounds for the Spaniard either.
Prediction – Nadal in straight sets