Rafael Nadal put on a clinical performance to ease past German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 and reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday as the Spaniard remained on course for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title.
The only former champion left in the men’s draw at Melbourne Park, Nadal is tied on 20 majors with Swiss Roger Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic, who are both absent from the tournament.
The 2009 champion’s only previous meeting with the 126th-ranked Hanfmann came on the Roland Garros clay in 2019 when Nadal lost just six games en route to a straight-sets victory.
The 30-year-old German did slightly better on a windy day at the Rod Laver Arena, but it was not enough to trouble Nadal, who hit 30 winners and broke his opponent’s serve four times in the match while saving both breakpoints he faced.
Nadal needed five match points before sealing victory when Hanfmann sent a forehand long. The sixth seed will next meet either Russian Karen Khachanov or Benjamin Bonzi of France for a place in the fourth round.