Nadal sails through

Published: Monday 19th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Rafael Nadal got back to winning ways with a comfortable straight sets triumph over Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the first round of the Australian Open.

The 28-year-old lost on his comeback from a wrist injury and appendicitis against Germany’s Michael Berrer at the Qatar Open earlier this month, but he looked much more like his old self as he won 6-3 6-2 6-2 in Melbourne.

Nadal, seeded third Down Under, needed just one hour and 49 minutes to dispatch world number 49 Youzhny and now faces either Russian Andrey Kuznetsov or fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round.

Youzhny, 32, went into the match-up knowing he has previously beaten the 14-times grand slam winner, having chalked up four hard court wins in the past but he never looked like adding to those victories.

Nadal, who had played only eight matches since Wimbledon last year , started off somewhat tentatively but soon broke Youzhny to go 3-2 up with a fine forehand winner and never looked back from there.

He raced through the rest of the first set, taking it 6-3 in just 37 minutes.

The Spaniard began to find his groove on serve in the second set, with Youzhny having no answer to the power and variety of the third seed.

That security gave Nadal a platform, which was ideal for him as he feels his way back to full fitness, and while his famed aggression only appeared in flashes he continued to ease through proceedings, wrapping up the second set 6-2.

Earlier this week Nadal wrote off his chances of winning a second title in Melbourne this year, but if he continues to cultivate the seeds of improvement sown here he might have to revise that prediction.

A deft half volley at the net and then a simply sumptuous baseline winner at full stretch, on the move, demonstrated just how much Nadal was in a different class at the start of the third set.

Youzhny did offer some resistance and started to make Nadal work harder for such glorious moments, but it was always a case of delaying the inevitable and once Nadal found a way through he was clinical in finishing off Youzhny.

Speaking afterwards Nadal pledged to keep on doing all he can to get even better.

“I am working very hard to try to get back to my best level again and the only way to get there is to work every day on the practice court and every match is important,” he told Eurosport.

He also alluded to the fact that he was unsure how he would react going into the game but was reassured by aspects of his performance.

“I was a little bit under doubt before, but I think I played without making too many mistakes and the only way to get better is to win more matches so it will probably help me,” he added.

“In general I was working well, returning well and I just need to build a little bit, such as being more dynamic with the movements some times. But for the rest I am more or less happy.”

Published: Monday 19th January 2015 by The News Editor

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