Rafa Nadal is clearly going from less to more in the physical aspect.
This Saturday, in an empty Rod Laver and with the squawking of birds as the only ambient sound due to the forced absence of the public, Rafa Nadal beat Cameron Norrie without apparent problems (7-5, 6-2 and 7-5 in 2:14) with the best body sensations that have been seen in this Australian Open.
In the serve, the luck of the game that was most difficult for him to execute due to his back problems, he took a little step forward, returned to his normal gesture with an increase in the average speed of 3 km / h at the end of the match, from 10 during the first set.
The rest of the movements he handled without problems, although with little precision this time (35 unforced errors), against a rival somewhat better than the previous ones and with a too mechanical hitting mechanic, worth the redundancy, and unorthodox, of those that produce a great expenditure of forces.
The good news is that the 25-year-old Briton, 69th in the world, left-handed (he has 16 victories in a row against players who use the same hand as him) gave him rhythm and so the Spaniard got for the 49th time in the eighth of a Grand Slam, 14th in Melbourne.
There the first curves will arrive before a top player of a great level and annoying for him: Fabio Fognini. The Italian smashed the last surviving Australian in the men’s draw, Alex de Miñaur, whom he won by a clear 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4 in 2h: 08.
Nadal’s first serve came off his racket at 197 km / h, a good sign to start. And in the second game he already had a break option that he could not convert. The same happened to him in the next rest, after a ball boy cleaned some seagull shit that had fallen into the Spanish zone.
Everything seemed to be going well until, suddenly, Norrie scrambled and scratched an unexpected tear aided by a flat Connors-type backhand that Rafa had a hard time playing at first. Without a solution to continuity, the number two in the world made the counterbreak.
The drive ran better this time than the ‘backhand’, and he leaned on it to attack the Johannesburg-born tennis player, that he had the bad detail to serve once without his rival being prepared (“I was not ready. I was looking down”said Nadal mixing English and Spanish) and made almost superhuman efforts, very to the limit, to stay in the game.
But at the moment of truth, when he was already caressing the tiebreaker, Nadal made him 0-40 and finally the break and the first set were scored.
Everything was more placid for the winner of 20 Grand Slams in the second round. Norrie lost some steam, exhausted by the constant pressure coming from the other side of the net, especially in the second serves.
Nadal, on the other hand, did not suffer anything with his serve, even with lower speeds, he achieved a blank break for 4-2 and also won the next two games to put a lot of land in between.
The last set was longer than necessary because Good old Cameron grabbed the track and Rafa was slow to find holes for the rest, although he had several options before consuming one of them just for the final 7-5.
“Yes,” he yelled as he pulled on his famous ‘saw’ with a clenched fist to celebrate that he had just given himself another chance, another two days, more time.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.