(AP) – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal is into the third round at Melbourne Park after beating Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Rafa served for the match but was broken in the 10th game, with Mayer hitting a cross-court winner that clipped the line. In the tiebreaker, Rafa won on his first match point with a service winner.
After the match, Rafa said:
An important victory against a tough opponent. He has big potential, hits the ball so strong, I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break. Hes a very dangerous opponent, and we’ve been friends for a long time. Happy to be in the third round after not having competition for a long time.
It’s always a very special to play in this court. It gives me great energy. Thank you to all the crowd, and many thanks for the support.
Hopefully Toni was watching the match at home. I have the team here working the right way, and Toni is always there if we need him. To my team, and my family this is the favourite tournament of the year so I want to be here as long as possible.
Rafa said he believes the roofs at Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena should be closed to protect the players’ health in extreme conditions.
Even I like sometimes play with hot (temperatures). When is too much, it becomes dangerous for the health. I would not like to see here retirements.
The Australian Open has an extreme heat policy that goes into effect when temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The roofs can be closed in such situations prior to the start of play.
Rafa isn’t scheduled to play again until Friday. He said he’s still avoiding the heat on Thursday and practicing indoors.
Our champ will next play 28th-seeded Damir Dzumhur, who beat John Millman in four sets.