Rafael Nadal dispelled any remaining doubts over his fitness with a commanding 6-1 6-4 6-2 win against American qualifier Michael Mmoh on Thursday to march into the Australian Open third round.
- Rafael Nadal’s three-set win was briefly interrupted by an unruly fan on Rod Laver Arena
- Nadal needed just one hour, 47 minutes to see off American qualifier Michael Mmoh
- Fifth seed Elina Svitolina beat Coco Gauff in straight sets
Nadal, chasing a men’s record 21st grand slam title, showed no ill effects of the injuries that kept him from playing a game in Spain’s ATP Cup campaign.
The second seed sat out last week’s competition with a back problem and following his opening win in Melbourne he had said the injury was still bothering him.
Nadal showed no sign of discomfort against the world number 177 American, however, peppering the blue court with winners from both forehand and backhand sides as Mmoh watched on helplessly.
In fact, the only issue that threatened to hamper the Spaniard’s progress was an unruly female fan, who needed to be escorted from the arena late in the second set after appearing to swear at Nadal as he tried to serve.
In the post-match press conference, Nadal was asked if he knew the woman: “No, and honestly, I don’t want to know,” he said.
Despite appearing to be momentarily unsettled, Nadal was able to laugh off the interruption, serving out the set and then cruising through the third set under the roof at Rod Laver Arena.
The 2009 Melbourne Park winner, who is tied with Roger Federer at 20 grand slam singles titles, will next meet world number 68, British player Cameron Norrie.
In the women’s draw, Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina made good use of limited opportunities against American teenager Coco Gauff to reach the Australian Open third round with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on Thursday evening.
The 16-year-old Gauff, the youngest player in the main draw at Melbourne Park, took the Australian Open by storm last year.
She took down Venus Williams, Sorana Cirstea and defending champion Naomi Osaka en route to the fourth round, where she lost to eventual winner Sofia Kenin.
But she failed to find a way past the steely Svitolina, who converted two out of her three break point opportunities against the big-hitting world number 48 to seal the fate of the match in their first meeting.
Gauff had four break point chances of her own but could not capitalise as Svitolina set up a clash with Kazakh 26th seed Yulia Putintseva, who beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.