After demolishing French No. 18 Lucas Pouille 10-1, Rafael Nadal had to save a match point to defeat Lleyton Hewitt in a wild 13-11 tiebreak.
The final against Tomas Berdych was tight early on before the sweet-swinging Czech overpowered Rafa in the latter stages of the match, a perfectly executed wide serve followed up by a volley to the open court establishing a 6-3 lead that Rafa was unable to pull back. Rafa saved one match point at 9-4 but a double-handed backhand on the next point sailed just wide for Berdych to claim the win at the Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne.
Rafa’s court coverage and powerful ground strokes look ready for another lengthy Melbourne Park campaign when the year’s first Grand Slam commences on Monday.
Lleyton Hewitt 10-6 Novak Djokovic
Lucas Pouille 1-10 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 10-8 Nick Kyrgios
Milos Raonic 10-7 Dominic Thiem
Lleyton Hewitt 11-13 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 11-9 Milos Raonic
Rafael Nadal 5-10 Tomas Berdych