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Ricky The Dimonator Reviews De Minaur | Nadal 2019 Australian Open Tennis For 10sBalls

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Matthew Ebden of Australia during their men's second round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Matthew Ebden of Australia during their men’s second round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH

 

 

De Minaur a tough opponent, but Nadal looking good at Australian Open

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

In terms of titles, the Australian Open is Rafael Nadal’s worst of the four  Slams. The 17-time major champion has lifted the trophy “only” once and is in the midst of a nine-year title drought since winning it all back in 2009. Combine that fact with Nadal’s possible physical issues heading into this fortnight and it was no surprise that he trailed Novak Djokovic (by a lot) and Roger Federer (by a little) in the pre-tournament favorite rankings.

 

Since retiring from last summer’s U.S. Open semifinal against Juan Martin Del Potro, Nadal has dealth with knee, hip, ankle,and thigh injuries. The Spaniard skipped the 2018 fall swing, withdrew from a December Abu Dhabi exo after just one match, and then pulled out from the season-opening Brisbane International two weeks ago.

 

And with that, Nadal–who retired from a 2018 Australian Open QF against Martin Cilic in the fifth set–arrived in Melbourne with little confidence…. Well, that should read: “with little confidence instilled in him by the general public.” After all, the current world No. 2–despite being perhaps the most humble player on tour–has never lacked belief in himself.

 

Fast forward through two rounds and no one should be lacking belief now. Nadal trounced a pair of Aussies in straight sets to earn another meeting with an Aussie, Alex De Minaur. He dismissed James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 before hammering Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

 

“[It was] a very positive victory for me,” Nadal said following Wednesday’s victory over Ebden. “I (am) happy the way I played. I started a little bit slow, especially on the return side; serving I think was good from the beginning…. I think I play well.”

 

Alex de Minaur of Australia in action against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland during their men's second round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Alex de Minaur of Australia in action against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland during their men’s second round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH

Beyond his own game, things are breaking well so far for Nadal. De Minaur is coming off an unexpected five-set tussle with Henri Laaksonen and the up-and-coming hometown hopeful had already put himself through a rigorous and triumphant Sydney campaign just last week. With Nadal well-rested by comparison, he should have a significant edge over Demon on Friday night in RLA.

 

Moreover, projected fourth-round seeded opponent Kyle Edmund lost right away projected quarterfinal foe Kevin Anderson was bounced out by Frances Tiafoe in round two.

 

It’s still early in the fortnight…but not too early to start thinking about the possibility of Nadal completing the double career Grand Slam.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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