Rafael Nadal overcomes foe, heckler at Australian Open

By Field Level Media
Oct 11, 2020; Paris, France; Rafael Nadal (ESP) in action during his match against Novak Djokovic (SRB) on day 15 at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Nadal breezed into the third round of the Australian Open following Thursday’s 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Michael Mmoh in Melbourne.

The second-seeded Spaniard recorded 40 winners and won 15 of 16 net points to dispatch the American qualifier in one hour and 47 minutes.

“I always try to be better (than the previous match). Sometimes (I am) better, sometimes not,” Nadal said. “I think (Thursday) has been a positive evening for me, winning in straight sets. (It is) great news, for everything.”

Not only did Nadal fend off Mmoh, the 20-time Grand Slam champion also had to contend with a heckler who yelled out and made hand gestures as he prepared to serve. She was escorted out of Rod Laver Arena as a result.

Nadal will face Cameron Norrie in the third round. The 25-year-old native of Great Britain rallied to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) victory over Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin in three hours and 31 minutes.

Also on Thursday, fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrated his 25th birthday with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

“I have the momentum and I feel like I can do a lot things,” Medvedev said after notching 13 aces to win the match in one hour, 44 minutes. “I hope I can keep it up. So far it’s working and I hope it doesn’t stop. There’s no time to celebrate my birthday in a tournament. I got presents from my wife, but I’ll soon look to my next match.”

No. 7 Andrey Rublev and No. 19 Karen Khachanov, both of Russia, and No. 21 Alex De Minaur of Australia recorded victories in straight sets.

Rublev secured a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (8) win over Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, Khachanov seized a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania and De Minaur notched a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

No. 9 Matteo Berrettini of Italy, No. 24 Norwegian Casper Ruud and No. 28 Filip Krajinovic of Serbia needed four sets to advance in their matches. Berrettini posted a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic, Ruud recorded a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Tommy Paul and Krajinovic collected a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 16 Fabio Fognini of Italy had a much tougher time of it, however. Tsitsipas rallied to a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win over Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis and Fognini posted a 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (12) win over countryman Salvatore Caruso.

–Field Level Media