Australian Open: Nadal Singles Out Opponent For Praise, Says 'He Has Lot Of Potential'

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Spain's Rafael Nadal is chasing a 21st Slam title
Spain's Rafael Nadal is chasing a 21st Slam title

Rafael Nadal defeated World No. 126 Yannick Hanfmann to progress to the third round at the 2022 Australian Open on Wednesday. He praised the German qualifier, saying he has a "lot of potential."

Nadal, who seeded sixth in the tournament, went past Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round fixture. The match at Rod Laver Arena lasted for two hours and 42 minutes. 

It was their second meeting in the ATP circuit with Nadal winning on both occasions. The duo first faced off against each other back in 2019 at the Rolland Garros, where the "King of Clay" won in straight sets. 

"Having played him before at Roland Garros, I knew that he is dangerous. His result against Thanasi [Kokkinakis] in the first round says that he is playing great and coming from the qualities he was used to the courts. He has big shots, a good serve and has a lot of potential. Today his level was much higher than his ranking says," Nadal said in a post-match interview from Melbourne, ATP media reported. 

Hanfmann's plan against Nadal was to hit hard and flat throughout the court and slip into the net when he would have stretched the former World No. 1 wide into the court. The 30-year-old player's heavy and clean striking earned him several winners, with his crosscourt backhand to Nadal's forehand proving efficient at times.

Hanfmann bagged his first Grand Slam match victory Monday when he defeated Adelaide International 2 champion Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round at the Australian Open. 

Meanwhile, with his latest triumph Wednesday, Nadal has now a 71-15 win/loss record at the calendar year's opening major tournament. Only Roger Federer (102) and Novak Djokovic (82) have more wins at Melbourne Park.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner will face the winner of Benjamin Bonzi vs Karen Khachanov in the third round. Both Bonzi and Khachanov are aged 25 and are ranked lower than the Spanish star. 


Spain's Rafael Nadal is chasing a 21st Slam title

Photo: AFP / Brandon MALONE

Nadal is aiming to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam and with Federer and Djokovic not participating at the Australian Open this year, the 2017 finalist has a great chance to claim his second major title in Australia. 

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