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Former No. 1 Nadal Powers into Australian Open Second Round

MELBOURNE, Australia — 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal punched his ticket to the second round on Tuesday at Melbourne Park after a decisive first round win.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his first round match against Florian Mayer of Germany on day two of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his first round match against Florian Mayer of Germany on day two of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Nadal defeated Florian Mayer in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Five years after their last meeting, Rafael Nadal beat Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a first-round match at Melbourne Park.

The pair last met on clay at Rome in 2012, when Nadal won in straight sets.

Playing an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena in 36 degree Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) temperatures, the ninth-seeded Nadal looked sharp despite having taken two injury breaks last year. He played only four matches after a fourth-round loss at the U.S. Open in September.

He’s already gone one round longer than last year here. In 2016, he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round at Melbourne Park, his only first-round loss at the Australian Open and only the second of his career at a Grand Slam, the other being Wimbledon in 2013 to Steve Darcis.

Original author: Ashley Ndebele
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