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Ruthless Nadal mangles Mayer to negotiate first hurdle

Reuters logo Reuters 17-01-2017
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after a point against Germany's Florian Mayer during their men's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 17, 2017. © GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after a point against Germany's Florian Mayer during their men's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 17, 2017.

Rafa Nadal easily avoided the embarrassment of back-to-back first round exits at the Australian Open on Tuesday, ramping up his serve and rattling off 39 winners to beat Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

The 2009 champion, seeded ninth after a disappointing injury-disrupted 2016 season, grasped his chances ruthlessly to overcome the German in a little over two hours in the brutal afternoon heat at Melbourne Park.

A single break in each of the first two sets followed by some dominant serving was enough to give him a comfortable lead going into the third, which the Spaniard wrapped up with a 25th sizzling forehand winner.

The 14-times grand slam champion, who was watched by new coach Carlos Moya, moves on to a second round clash with Cyprus's former Melbourne Park finalist Marcos Baghdatis. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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