2020 in Review: Rafael Nadal serves his way into the last 16 in Melbourne

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2020 in Review: Rafael Nadal serves his way into the last 16 in Melbourne
2020 in Review: Rafael Nadal serves his way into the last 16 in Melbourne

Facing each other for the fifth time, Rafael Nadal defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes to advance into the Australian Open fourth round for the 13th time! After a bit of struggle against Federico Delbonis in the previous match, Nadal was back at his best on a sunny Rod Laver Arena, finishing the job in no time to remain on the title course.

Dropping only ten points behind the initial shot, Nadal never faced a break point and stole Pablo's serve five from ten opportunities, firing 42 winners and seven unforced errors to leave the fellow Spaniard far behind. Nadal held in the first game when Carreno Busta sent a forehand wide and grabbed a break in the next one after forcing the opponent's error.

The former champion cemented the lead with another fine hold in game three and secured another one to open a 4-1 advantage. Carreno Busta saved three break points in game six before Nadal converted the fourth, moving further in front and sealing the opener on his serve in game seven after 29 minutes.

Carried by this momentum, Rafa played even better in set number two, firing 15 winners with only two unforced errors and dropping two points behind the initial shot to mount the pressure on the other side of the net. Again, he stole Carreno Busta's serve twice to control the scoreboard and make another big step towards the next round.

Rafael Nadal lost only ten points on serve against Pablo Carreno Busta in Melbourne.

Nadal clinched a break at love in the first game thanks to a loose volley from his opponent and landed four winners in game two to confirm the advantage.

Rafa hit a service winner in the fourth game to open a 3-1 lead, held with ease in game six and broke the next one thanks to a stunning defense and a forehand winner at the net. Serving for the set, the 2009 champion blasted four direct points and secured a set with a smash winner, moving closer to the finish line after 57 minutes.

Producing better tennis at the beginning of the third set, Pablo served well in games one and three to remain on the positive side. Still, Nadal found a way to break him at 2-2 with a forced error and held with an ace to confirm the lead.

The younger Spaniard closed game seven with four powerful serves, remaining within one break deficit and hoping for any chance on the return. Instead of that, Rafa closed the next one with an ace, moving 5-3 in front and sealing the deal with three winners in game ten that pushed him into the last 16.

Rafael Nadal Carreno Busta

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