ATP Australian Open: Rafael Nadal makes strong start against Carreno Busta

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ATP Australian Open: Rafael Nadal makes strong start against Carreno Busta

Facing each other for the fifth time, world no. 1 and 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal leads against Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 after 29 minutes in the third round at Rod Laver Arena. The better-ranked Spaniard claimed all four wins in the previous encounters against the compatriot and he looks sharp and focused on the court, hitting nine winners and only three unforced errors to leave the rival far behind.

Rafa lost only three points behind the initial shot so far, defending the second serve nicely and never facing a break point while scoring two on the other hand, winning more than half of the return points to control the scoreboard.

Nadal held in the first game when Carreno Busta sent a forehand wide, breaking Pablo at 15 in game two after forcing an error with his backhand. A former champion held at love in game three to confirm the advantage before Carreno Busta got his name on the scoreboard with a hold at 15 that reduced his deficit to 3-1.

Rafa responded with an even stronger service game that sent him 4-1 in front, creating four break chances in the next game and seizing the last one after a forehand error from Pablo to secure another break and race into a 5-1 advantage.

Serving for the set, Nadal held at 15 to take the set 6-1 following a forced error from Carreno Busta, looking good on the court and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. In their previous match on hard court in Doha 2016, Pablo won the opening set against Rafa but that wasn't the case today, standing powerless against the mighty opponent and having a lot of work to be done in the rest of the encounter if he wants to fight for the victory.