Australian Open: Nadal, Medvedev sail into third round

Spaniard Rafael Nadal and birtdhay boy Daniil Medvedev advanced to the third round of the 2021 Australian Open with straight-set wins on Thursday.

Rafael Nadla (left) and Daniil Medvedev in action in their respective second round matches.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Rafa 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, while birthday boy Daniil Medvedev beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2 7-5 6-1.

The second seed did not play a match in Spain's ATP Cup campaign last week 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, however, against the 177th-ranked American under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena and peppered the blue court with winners from both forehand and backhand sides as Mmoh watched on helplessly.

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The 2009 Melbourne Park winner, who is tied with Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, will next meet either Briton Cameron Norrie or Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin.

In the other match, Medvedev continued his impressive run of form as he celebrated his 25th birthday with a clinical win.

The fourth seed lost his cool when the Spaniard broke his serve in the second set but recovered his composure to prevail after 104 minutes on the John Cain Arena court and extend his winning streak to 16 matches.

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The run includes victories over Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev and titles at the ATP Finals, French Masters and most recently the ATP Cup as mainstay of the Russian team.

"Sometimes in tennis and in all sports you see this, you have this momentum," Medvedev said after wrapping up the match with his 13th ace.

"I'm really enjoying it and hopefully I can keep it going."

While the third stadium court had been a bear pit on Wednesday night when Australian Nick Kyrgios beat Frenchman Ugo Humbert, Thursday's evening session was witnessed by only a handful of fans.

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"With a crowd it's easier, but the aim on the tennis court is to win. When there's no crowd, we do it for all the fans around the world," said Medvedev.

Next up for the Russian in the third round is Serbian Filip Krajinovic, a prospect that Medvedev said would keep him from celebrating his birthday on Thursday.

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"It's a Slam, so I got my present from my wife but tomorrow I'll train and get ready for the next match," he said.

"If I'd lost, I'd probably go out and celebrate but I won so..."

The 2019 U.S. Open finalist said he would be happy to put the celebrations on hold until Sunday week when he hopes to be playing his second Grand Slam final.

"That's the best present for anyone in the world so hopefully it can happen," he said grinning.

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