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Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki, Australian Open 2018: live score updates

8:54AM Kyrgios* 7-5, 1-0 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki's double fault count creeps up to four as an early double in the second helps Kyrgios to a mini-break. The Serbian digs deep with a couple of vital first serves to draw level but then slaps a forehand into the middle to hand Kyrgios an early break point. The Aussie has the early lead when Troicki over-eggs a forehand and then skies a loose ball in frustration. KYRGIOS BREAKS.  8:49AM Kyrgios 7-5 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios wins his 19th straight point off his first serve to set him on the way and backs it up by forcing Troicki to go long during the next rally. Kyrgios sustains his perfect record on his first serve and takes the set with a booming ace down the T. Impressive stuff. KYRGIOS WINS THE FIRST SET. Sealed with an ace!@NickKyrgios takes the first set 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/XwxXImWW4G— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018   8:46AM Kyrgios* 6-5 Troicki (*denotes next server) Early pressure now on Troicki's serve as the Serbian makes a second double to land himself in danger at 0-30. Three break points are gifted to the Aussie after another double but Kyrgios only needs one. The 17th seed wears down his opponent with some heavy-hitting from the back of the court before drilling a backhand across court which is out of Troicki's reach. KYRGIOS BREAKS.  8:43AM Kyrgios 5-5 Troicki* (*denotes next server) A baseline slug-fest that lasts 16 shots has Kyrgios well placed and the aggressor only for the Aussie to slap a regulation forehand into the net. A few groans ring round Hisense as a wayward backhand from Kyrgios which gives Troicki hope at 30-all and for the first time on his serve, the 17th seed is taken to deuce on his serve. A booming ace down the T gives him breathing space and this time he executes a drop shot to keep the first set on serve.  8:36AM Kyrgios* 4-5 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki is starting to make his presence felt at the net as he advances and puts away his 10th winner from close quarters. Yet it's at the back of the court where he isn't having much luck and Kyrgios is punishing him with his loaded groundstrokes. One over-egged forehand gifts Troicki game point, one he duly takes advantage of with a seventh ace. 8:34AM Kyrgios 4-4 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Blistering pace from Kyrgios on his serve and a thunderous forehand winner complete an unblemished service game for the Aussie. He looks in great touch. 8:31AM Kyrgios* 3-4 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki looks to be on course for a straight-forward game well set at 30-0 before a first double fault of the match gifts Kyrgios a free point. The Aussie can't execute a drop shot and then drags a backhand into the tramlines as Troicki steers out a game without going to deuce. Credit: AP   8:28AM Kyrgios 3-3 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios still looks composed and in full control on his serve as he rattles through another game to 15.  8:25AM Kyrgios* 2-3 Troicki (*denotes next server) Oh er. Troicki is back in trouble on his serve as Kyrgios takes him to 30-all. Troicki keeps Kyrgios at bay for now by moving to deuce and advantage but still can't get over the line. Three deuces later and an outswinging ace later finally edges him ahead in the match again. 8:20AM Kyrgios 2-2 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios aims and fire. Three missiles later and there's no problem with the Australian's service game so far.  8:16AM Kyrgios* 1-2 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki settles into his service rhythm this game, sending down his own couple of aces to move to two game points. A backhand error from Kyrgios gifts the 31-year-old of a straight-forward hold. 8:14AM Kyrgios 1-1 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Troicki surges to 0-30 before Kyrgios reels him in with some booming first serves. An ace, the first of the match from either man, moves him a step closer and he secures with the hold quite comfortably in the end. 8:11AM Kyrgios* 0-1 Troicki (*denotes next server) It's the Serbian Troicki who serves first and Kyrgios is all over his opponent trying the opening point and keeping the heat on to secure a first break point of the match early doors. Troicki saves the danger with a delightful drop shot but Kyrgios sustains the pressure and has a second bite of the cherry. Again he can't make the breakthrough but continues to knock on the door. Four deuces later and Troicki comes through the other side of a sticky opening game.  8:02AM Explosive contest ahead? Hello all and welcome to coverage of Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki in the second round of the Australian Open which promises to be a lively affair if nothing else. Neither man is known for keeping their emotions in check so it could be a busy evening ahead for the umpire and one to keep the crowd on Hisense Arena entertained. Both men are out on court going through their warm-ups and we'll be bringing you game-by-game updates very soon.

Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki, Australian Open 2018: live score updates

8:54AM Kyrgios* 7-5, 1-0 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki's double fault count creeps up to four as an early double in the second helps Kyrgios to a mini-break. The Serbian digs deep with a couple of vital first serves to draw level but then slaps a forehand into the middle to hand Kyrgios an early break point. The Aussie has the early lead when Troicki over-eggs a forehand and then skies a loose ball in frustration. KYRGIOS BREAKS.  8:49AM Kyrgios 7-5 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios wins his 19th straight point off his first serve to set him on the way and backs it up by forcing Troicki to go long during the next rally. Kyrgios sustains his perfect record on his first serve and takes the set with a booming ace down the T. Impressive stuff. KYRGIOS WINS THE FIRST SET. Sealed with an ace!@NickKyrgios takes the first set 7-5.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/XwxXImWW4G— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018   8:46AM Kyrgios* 6-5 Troicki (*denotes next server) Early pressure now on Troicki's serve as the Serbian makes a second double to land himself in danger at 0-30. Three break points are gifted to the Aussie after another double but Kyrgios only needs one. The 17th seed wears down his opponent with some heavy-hitting from the back of the court before drilling a backhand across court which is out of Troicki's reach. KYRGIOS BREAKS.  8:43AM Kyrgios 5-5 Troicki* (*denotes next server) A baseline slug-fest that lasts 16 shots has Kyrgios well placed and the aggressor only for the Aussie to slap a regulation forehand into the net. A few groans ring round Hisense as a wayward backhand from Kyrgios which gives Troicki hope at 30-all and for the first time on his serve, the 17th seed is taken to deuce on his serve. A booming ace down the T gives him breathing space and this time he executes a drop shot to keep the first set on serve.  8:36AM Kyrgios* 4-5 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki is starting to make his presence felt at the net as he advances and puts away his 10th winner from close quarters. Yet it's at the back of the court where he isn't having much luck and Kyrgios is punishing him with his loaded groundstrokes. One over-egged forehand gifts Troicki game point, one he duly takes advantage of with a seventh ace. 8:34AM Kyrgios 4-4 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Blistering pace from Kyrgios on his serve and a thunderous forehand winner complete an unblemished service game for the Aussie. He looks in great touch. 8:31AM Kyrgios* 3-4 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki looks to be on course for a straight-forward game well set at 30-0 before a first double fault of the match gifts Kyrgios a free point. The Aussie can't execute a drop shot and then drags a backhand into the tramlines as Troicki steers out a game without going to deuce. Credit: AP   8:28AM Kyrgios 3-3 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios still looks composed and in full control on his serve as he rattles through another game to 15.  8:25AM Kyrgios* 2-3 Troicki (*denotes next server) Oh er. Troicki is back in trouble on his serve as Kyrgios takes him to 30-all. Troicki keeps Kyrgios at bay for now by moving to deuce and advantage but still can't get over the line. Three deuces later and an outswinging ace later finally edges him ahead in the match again. 8:20AM Kyrgios 2-2 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Kyrgios aims and fire. Three missiles later and there's no problem with the Australian's service game so far.  8:16AM Kyrgios* 1-2 Troicki (*denotes next server) Troicki settles into his service rhythm this game, sending down his own couple of aces to move to two game points. A backhand error from Kyrgios gifts the 31-year-old of a straight-forward hold. 8:14AM Kyrgios 1-1 Troicki* (*denotes next server) Troicki surges to 0-30 before Kyrgios reels him in with some booming first serves. An ace, the first of the match from either man, moves him a step closer and he secures with the hold quite comfortably in the end. 8:11AM Kyrgios* 0-1 Troicki (*denotes next server) It's the Serbian Troicki who serves first and Kyrgios is all over his opponent trying the opening point and keeping the heat on to secure a first break point of the match early doors. Troicki saves the danger with a delightful drop shot but Kyrgios sustains the pressure and has a second bite of the cherry. Again he can't make the breakthrough but continues to knock on the door. Four deuces later and Troicki comes through the other side of a sticky opening game.  8:02AM Explosive contest ahead? Hello all and welcome to coverage of Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki in the second round of the Australian Open which promises to be a lively affair if nothing else. Neither man is known for keeping their emotions in check so it could be a busy evening ahead for the umpire and one to keep the crowd on Hisense Arena entertained. Both men are out on court going through their warm-ups and we'll be bringing you game-by-game updates very soon.

Pac-12 leaders No. 14 Arizona, Stanford face off Saturday

Stanford's Daejon Davis, left, grabs a rebound in front of Washington's Matisse Thybulle in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum plays a return shot to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic receives treatment from a trainer while playing Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a forehand return to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Spain's Rafael Nadal dashes to reach the ball as he plays Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina holds her hair while playing Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum, left, is celebrated by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic as she won their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk celebrates after defeating Australia's Olivia Rogowska during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Fans pose for a photo ahead of the second round match between Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka and Italy's Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk reacts after defeating Australia's Olivia Rogowska during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki wipes the sweat from her face while playing Croatia's Jana Fett during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic makes a backhand return to Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Nadal into 3rd round; Wozniacki saves 2 MPs to advance

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki reacts after defeating Croatia's Jana Fett during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer reacts during his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal prepares to serve during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer applauds after losing his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Leonardo Mayer of Argentina serves against Rafael Nadal of Spain. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia

Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Women watch the Olympic torch relay under a giant banner depicting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, in Seoul, South Korea

Women watch the Olympic torch relay under a giant banner depicting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, in Seoul, South Korea, January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Women watch the Olympic torch relay under a giant banner depicting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, in Seoul, South Korea

Women watch the Olympic torch relay under a giant banner depicting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, in Seoul, South Korea, January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

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Irrer Streich: 40-Jähriger wird zum Einlaufkind

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Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. 

Rafael Nadal passes stern Leonardo Mayer test to advance to Australian Open 2018 third round

Rafael Nadal continued his excellent start to the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.  While the scoreline looks straightforward, Nadal had to be at his very best to overcome an inspired opponent who pushed him all the way in a hugely entertaining third set. Mayer looked to be down an out when Nadal served for the match up two sets and 5-4, but he rallied impressively and broke back before forcing a tie-break.  Nadal though managed to up his level and hit a flurry of outstanding passing shots to win the breaker and advance to the third round in straight sets after 2hrs 38 mins.  The Spaniard's bid for a 17th grand slam title continues on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  .@RafaelNadal was very thankful of the @RodLaverArena crowd support in his post-match interview.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/fWyXbaxOMu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:34AM Onwards The scoreline makes that look straightforward but Nadal had to play absolutely brilliantly against an inspired opponent to win that in straight sets.  Next up for the world No 1 is a third round match on Friday against the Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.  8:32AM Nadal speaks An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we've been friends for a long time.  Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.  It's always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.  Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible  Roger Rasheed the on-court interviewer then laboriously tries to ask Nadal questions about his golf, which doesn't really get anywhere.  Nadal also bats away questions about his knee, saying "I hope so" when Rasheed says he's looking as fit as a fiddle.  Credit: AFP 8:22AM Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) A service winner wraps up a straight sets win for Nadal.  He's into the third round without having dropped a set.  The world No.1️⃣ is through to the third round! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DjhstN6gC8— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 6-4 Mayer (*next server) Two match points for Nadal after a brilliant body serve-crosscourt forehand winner combo.  8:21AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Nadal miscues a backhand return, and there's just one point in it. Nadal has two serves now to close out the match.  8:20AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer responds with an ace out wide of his own to reduce the deficit.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) An ace out wide takes Nadal to within two points of the third round.  8:19AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 4-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal leaps into the air after crashing a brilliant backhand pass up the line that's too strong for Mayer at the net. Phenomenal hitting from the world No 1! Carlos Moya is off his feet applauding Nadal.  Wow... a @RafaelNadal special! #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/aR2QBQfKHA— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 8:17AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Nadal is back up the mini-break as he screams a fizzing forehand pass beyond his opponent at the net.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Missed Nadal backhand return levels things up.  8:16AM Third set tie-break - Nadal 2-1 Mayer* (*next server) Hawkeye confirms that Mayer is inches wide with a backhand return, and Nadal edges ahead.  8:15AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-1 Mayer (*next server) A well-controlled smash gets the mini-break straight back for Mayer.  8:14AM Third set tie-break - Nadal* 1-0 Mayer (*next server) A brilliant forehand winner down the line secures an early mini-break for Nadal.  8:13AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-6 Mayer* (*next server) - Tie-break A couple of Mayer errors, a Nadal forehand winner and a service winner secure a love hold for the Spaniard.  We're into a third set tie-break.  8:10AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-6 Mayer (*next server) The level of this match really has been superb, especially this set. Against any other player Mayer would surely not be two sets to love down. At least he's kept himself in the match though, and he storms to a hold to 15 here with an ace and yet another forehand winner (his 13th of the match).  Nadal will serve to stay in the third set.  Credit: AFP 8:06AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 5-5 Mayer* (*next server) - Mayer breaks back A missed Nadal forehand gives Mayer encouragement at 0-15, before Rafa slams away a forehand winner for 15-15. Incredible shotmaking from Nadal, but Mayer responds in kind with a stinging backhand return for 15-30. The Argentine then bravely chips and charges on the next point, but Nadal cleverly draws a missed volley with a dipping backhand pass. Mayer though is not done yet, and he crunches away a forehand winner for 30-40 and break back point. Nadal saves it with a big serve down the T that Mayer can only desperately return into the net. The Argentine then earns a second break point of the game by doing the impossible and out-hitting Nadal in a forehand to forehand exchange. Stunning stuff. And the next point is even better! Mayer flicks away a backhand winner return, and we're back on serve.  Mayer is still alive!  7:59AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks Mayer begins the game with an ace, which means he's hit aces in four of his last five service points. He then cracks away a forehand winner for 30-0, which means his last six service points have been either aces or forehand winners. Nadal ends the sequence by missing a backhand (and almost decapitating a ballgirl in the process), and a double fault and missed Mayer forehand have us at 40-30. It's then deuce after another double fault, and suddenly nervy moments for the Argentine. And would you believe it, a third double fault of the game hands Rafa advantage and break point. Can Nadal take this one? Yes he can! Brutal length from the Spaniard draws a missed Mayer backhand. Nadal screams "vamos!" and will now serve for the match. Bizarre implosion from Mayer there.  7:52AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-4 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal responds to Mayer's love service game with one of his own. Are we heading for a third set tie-breaker?  Credit: Getty Images 7:49AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-4 Mayer (*next server) Ace, forehand winner, ace, ace. What a love service game that is for Mayer, who is playing lights out tennis all of a sudden. Nadal doing well to live with him at the moment.  7:48AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Nadal saves a break point and holds Mayer will be hoping that those missed opportunities might be preying on Nadal's mind, but the Spaniard shows no ill effects by beginning the game with an absolute howitzer of a forehand winner up the line. Mayer though is playing superbly himself, and he gets to 30-30 with a superb drop volley. It's then 30-40 and a break point - his first since the first set - for Mayer, as he rips away a forehand winner down the line. The odds look decent for Mayer when he clumps a backhand return off a Nadal second serve, but Rafa responds with an even more powerful forehand winner. Absolutely superb from both men. Nadal screams "vamos!" in celebration, and then reels off the next two points to complete the hold.  Still no breaks of serve in what's been a hugely entertaining third set.  7:40AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 2-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves three break points and holds Brilliant from Rafa, and something a little out of the ordinary, as the Spaniard gets to 0-30 with an awkward backhand sliced passing shot that somehow dips onto the line. Mayer then nets a backhand and it's three break points at 0-40. But what a response from the Argentine, who saves them all with a brilliant forehand winner, an ace, and then a textbook stop volley. No wonder he grins and looks up at his camp in relief. Another ace follows, and a service winner then wraps up a hugely impressive service hold.  Credit: REUTERS 7:33AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-2 Mayer* (*next server) Can Mayer finally put some pressure on the Nadal serve this game? Not really. The Argentine does at least get a point on the board for 15-15, but Nadal slams the door shut with two scorching forehand winners. A service winner then secures another comfortable hold.  7:31AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-2 Mayer (*next server) Mayer is hanging in by his fingernails here, clinging on to his serve to 30 with Nadal pushing him all the way. A missed Rafa forehand eventually hands his opponent the hold.  7:24AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 1-1 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is just getting nowhere near the Nadal serve. Once again Rafa rattles through a love service game, and straight away the pressure swings back to his opponent.  7:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 0-1 Mayer (*next server) After dropping his serve early in each of the first two sets, it's crucial Mayer gets the hold here. Nadal as ever pushes him close, but Mayer claims a hold to 30 when Nadal misses a forehand.   Astonishing first serve percentage from Nadal in the second set Credit: Eurosport 7:14AM Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal Not sure about the country music being played at the change of ends, and neither by the look of his raised eyebrow is Nadal. Once the game starts though, Rafa is back to his prowling, menacing best. He races to 30-0 with more bruising forehand hitting, and though Mayer finally gets point in a Nadal service game, Rafa cruises to a hold to 15 and that is the second set. Nadal looks to his box and pumps his fist. He's well on his way here.  Nadal a set away from the third round.  Sealed with a winner �� @RafaelNadal takes the second set 6-4.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/HdLNNEUPGi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:09AM Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Mayer (*next server) Once again, Nadal is giving Mayer no respite on his serve. A brilliant inside out forehand makes it 30-30, and moves Rafa to within two points of a two-set lead. Again though, Mayer finds just enough to claim a hold - sealing the game with a forehand winner.  Nadal will serve for the second set.  New balls please... ������@RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/Qm1VV3rlil— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 7:05AM Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has troubled Mayer in every one of his service games this set, but when the Spaniard has been serving it's been one way traffic. He holds to love again here and has now won 12 service points in a row.  7:02AM Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves two break points and holds Nadal again makes inroads on his opponents serve, and he forces a break point at 30-40 when he bullies Mayer into missing an attempted backhand pass. Mayer saves it when Nadal misses a forehand return, but Rafa quickly earns another one when excellent defence draws a missed forehand from his opponent. Again though he misses a forehand, and Mayer then finds two big serves to grind out another hold.  6:55AM Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Mayer* (*next server) Nadal has only been broken once this tournament, and is serving like a dream today. He's got a staggering 76 per cent of first serves in this match, and holds to love here in the blink of an eye.  6:52AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Mayer (*next server) Exceptional level from both players, who each scream winners away this game for 30-30. An ace down the T then takes Mayer to 40-30, and he completes the hold when Rafa nets a backhand.  Credit: AFP 6:47AM Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Mayer* (*next server) Continuing the pattern of Mayer doing everything right but getting little reward, he scorches a backhand winner up the line for 0-15, but is quickly down 30-15 after a Nadal ace and service winner. Moments later Nadal has held to 15 thanks to another service winner, and a beautifully balanced crosscourt forehand winner.  6:43AM Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Mayer (*next server) Impressive resolve from Mayer here, as he rallies from 0-30 down to eke out a hold to 30, secured with a beautiful serve-volley play. The Argentine is actually playing very well, but he just can't quite match his opponent's ridiculously high level.  6:40AM Nadal 6-3, 2-0 Mayer* (*next server) This is warning sign stuff from Nadal now. He is pinging forehand winners seemingly at will, and Mayer is chasing shadows as he falls down 30-0. The Argentine decides to throw caution to the wind and responds with two brilliant winners - one off either wing, both down the line - for 30-30. Nadal though then draws a couple of errors and holds to 30. Mayer played two absolutely brilliant shots  that game, and still didn't even force deuce. That must be so demoralising.  Bottle placement on point. @RafaelNadal#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/apNOKZ8MGT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2018 6:36AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-0 Mayer (*next server) - Nadal breaks So good from Nadal. He is squarely in the groove now, and he thwacks away an inside out forehand winner for 0-30. Soon after it's 15-40 and two break points when a frazzled Mayer sprays a forehand long. And Nadal takes it with a sublime backhand return crosscourt winner. How did Rafa even do that? He was standing so far behind the baseline (as he has been throughout the match when returning) but finds the perfect angle to send the ball spinning away from his opponent.  Nadal a set and a break up.  Stats from the first set - not a huge amount between the two players Credit: Eurosport 6:29AM Nadal 6-3 Mayer* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal Nadal kicks the game off with a forehand winner and service winner to go up 30-0, and he has two more set points when Mayer nets an attempted backhand pass. Nadal celebrates the miss with a big fist pump. Mayer saves the first one, but Nadal at last claims the set - at the sixth time of asking - when Mayer sends a backhand long.  Nadal has won 95 per cent of his career matches after winning the first set.  6:26AM Nadal* 5-3 Mayer (*next server) - Mayer saves four set points and holds Relentless from Rafa. Mayer attempts an aborted charge to the net to fall down 0-15, before a trademark whipped Nadal forehand winner up the line has us at 0-30. A missed Mayer forehand then hands Nadal three set points at 0-40. Credit Mayer though, as he saves them all - the first two with big serve/forehand winner combos, and the third when Nadal weakly nets a forehand. Mayer then forces a game point, but Nadal saves it sensationally with a 100mph backhand winner up the line! Absolutely extraordinary to get that sort of pace on a backhand. Mayer though is digging in, and after Nadal forces a fourth set point, he again brings out a forehand winner to save it. An ace and a service winner follow, and Mayer very impressively digs out the hold.  Nadal will serve for the first set.  6:16AM Nadal 5-2 Mayer* (*next server) Mayer is really going after the Nadal serve this game, and he crunches away a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 15-30. His countryman Juan Martin del Potro would have been proud of that one. Mayer though then makes three consecutive errors, and Nadal holds to 30. It is roasting in Melbourne incidentally - it's 5.15pm and still over 30 degrees.  Mayer will serve to stay in the opening set.   6:11AM Strong start from Nadal Rafa has picked up an early break, and leads 4-2 in this Australian Open second round match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.