A break and a hold gave Rafa an early lead in the first set and kept the momentum up, breaking Monfils twice more to take the set at 6-1. Both contenders played at a high level, as evident by long rallies, but Rafa seemed to be on fire in the opening round. The second round began routinely, but gave us quite a scare when Rafa seemed to injure his right foot. There was no MTO or trainer called on court, however, and the set proceeded with Rafa breaking mid-way, taking the set at 6-2. The third set had no surprises. Rafa’s forehand was consistent, and he took the set at 6-3. He will face Kei Nishikori next.
“Gael is always a big test, he’s a great player,” said Nadal. “Today I played my best match of the year. I’m very emotional to play that well again in Australia after missing last year. It’s a special moment for me to play a night session in the Rod Laver Arena in front of this incredible crowd.” (via BBC)