Australian Open: Rafael Nadal eases through to second round as Sebastian Corda shocks Cameron Norrie

Rafael Nadal beat Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to ease through to the second round of the Australian Open on Monday (January 17).

Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/@ATP_tour)

Rafael Nadal made the perfect start to the season-opening Australian Open Grand Slam, advancing to the second round with minimal fuss.

Nadal, who’s seeded sixth in the tournament, beat Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to ease through to the second round on Monday (January 17).

Many believe that with no Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer competing that Nadal is the shoo-in favourite to win this Grand Slam.

And while he himself would deny it, he put in a vintage display in the first round. He did seem noticeably rusty at first, but got much better as the match went on.

In truth, Nadal was always going to be tested only in the later rounds. But you still have to beat whoever’s in front of you; Nadal did just that in dominant fashion.

Given he’s coming back from a long injury lay-off, it will take the Spaniard some time to find his rhythm. That he tested positive for COVID-19 before the tournament would not have helped either.

However, Nadal knows how to win on the big stage. And it is that experience that he will bank on as he aims to win a 21st Grand Slam.

How did others fare in the Australian Open?

Arguably the biggest upset of the day was the elimination of Britain’s Cameron Norrie. The twelfth-seeded star, who had a much improved 2021, lost out in straight sets to Sebastian Korda.

Korda, it’s worth noting, is no slouch himself. The 21-year-old American finished runner-up in the 2021 ATP NextGen finals held in November last year.

However, most fancied Norrie to have a decent run at Melbourne. All eyes will now be on Korda and how he fares in the coming rounds.

Another seeded competitor who lost out was South Africa’s Lloyd Harris. He succumbed to a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(3) loss to unseeded Australian Aleksandar Vukic.

Aside from that, it was a day of expected results for the seeded players. Denis Shapovalov beat Laslo Dere in a four-set match; 16th seed Christian Garin went one further, playing and winning a five-setter against Facundo Bagnis.

Matteo Berretini also needed four sets to seal his passage into the second round. However, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta and France’s Gael Monfils also won their first-round matches in straight sets.

The likes of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are yet to play their respective first round matches in Melbourne.

Sportslumo Desk

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