Top-seeded Rafael Nadal powered into the third round of the 2014 Australian Open on Thursday, Jan. 16, making light work of Thanasi Kokkinakis in Melbourne, as reported by the tournament's official Twitter account:
Nadal, in truth, was never expected to be tested by the world No. 570, and that proved the case in a routine 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 triumph.
The Spaniard’s authority was established early in the first set, dropping only three points on serve as he instantly sent Kokkinakis onto the back foot, per the Grand Slam's official website.
Nadal committed just three unforced errors in a near-flawless set of tennis, even attacking the net on occasion to shorten four points in the Australian heat.
Kokkinakis worked hard in the second and managed to hold a couple of games on serve, but the 17-year-old soon showed fatigue after facing constant pressure from the world No. 1.
The Australian sent an excellent forehand winner down the line to set up game point with Nadal leading 3-2, but the Spaniard moved through the gears to claim the break of serve.
Despite providing further resistance, especially from Nadal's monstrous forehand, Kokkinakis couldn't regularly overcome his opponent's first serve, which landed at 76 percent during the second set.
Kokkinakis became particularly tired in the final set, but the starlet's fine effort will have gained many new admirers at his home Grand Slam. He hit 21 winners, four aces and 24 unforced errors. But most potently of all, his forehand looks to be a real weapon to watch out for in the future.
Nadal eased his way to 39 winners, seven aces and only 19 unforced errors in a useful second-round workout.
Speaking about his young opponent during his post-match interview, Nadal acknowledged Kokkinakis' admirable performance, per Russell Jackson of The Guardian:
"I really think he has fantastic potential," said the 27-year-old. "He has all the ingredients to be a fantastic player."
Nadal advances to face either Jack Sock or Gael Monfils in the third round.
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