Rafael Nadal believes he took a step forward in his comfortable Australian Open second-round victory over Matt Ebden on Wednesday.
Nadal was made to work hard in the first round as he saw off wildcard James Duckworth 6-4 6-3 7-5, but his meeting with another Australian in Ebden was more routine as he needed just an hour and 56 minutes to progress 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Asked about his performance in a media conference, Nadal pointed to him saving three break points at 3-3 in the first set as the turning point that led to him upping the intensity and cantering away from the home hope.
He said: "[It] is a different match. Was a little bit more logical match tonight. He is not an easy opponent. Have been a very positive victory for me. I'm happy [with] the way I played.
"I started a little bit slow, especially on the return side, serving I think was good from the beginning. Then I saved that game in the three-all. After that things changed. I think I played well."
Next up for Nadal is yet another Aussie in emerging talent Alex de Minaur, a 19-year-old who is seeded 27th.
The 2009 champion's side of the draw has seen seeds such as Kevin Anderson and Kyle Edmund tumble out, but that is of little concern to the Spaniard.
"I going to be very honest with you. Normally I look all around the draw," he added. "In the situation that I am today, coming back from an injury, I am just going on every day.
"I even don't know that Edmund was on my part of the draw or not. I just know little bit the beginning of the tournament.
"I have now a tough opponent like De Minaur. I think he already won seven matches in a row. It is a challenge every day.
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"Today has been a very important step forward for me. The way that I played has been very positive, in my opinion. I am happy about the rest of the things.
"The seeds are seeds because they played better the last 12 months, that doesn't mean they going to play better during these two weeks. When they lost, there are another player that are playing better, that's all."
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