Nadal passes Mayer test
Originally published on 17/01/18 00:00
The Argentine played his part in a high quality contest with Rafael Nadal, but even his best efforts were not enough for him to sneak a set against the Spanish workhorse.
The world No.1 was a fitness doubt prior to the opening Grand Slam of the season, however he appears to be in excellent physical condition. He unleashed 40 winners and coughed up just 10 unforced-errors as he clocked an impressive 6-3 6-4 7-6(4) victory.
The lopsided scoreline does not accurately reflect the closeness of the match, but Nadal was always one step ahead of his plucky opponent. Mayer’s display highlighted what he is capable of producing, but a lack of consistency is primarily why he has a losing record as a professional.
The majority of the drama unfolded at the business of the third set. Mayer committed three double-faults to gift his opponent an unexpected 5-4 advantage – and his chance to prolong the duel appeared to be over.
Nadal attempted to apply the finishing touches, but the Argentine roared back and secured his first break of the match thanks to a fine backhand return winner.
A tiebreak was eventually necessary, and it was a pair of sublime passing-shots from the former champion that proved to be the telling difference.
“It was an important victory for me,” said the Spaniard, who will encounter Damir Dzumhur next. “Leonardo is a tough opponent and has big potential. The last couple of games were very tough and I had to hit some great shots in the tiebreak.
“I’m happy to be in the third round after a while without being in competition. It’s a second victory in a row for me, and that’s very important.”