In the first match of the night session at A day at the Drive in Adelaide, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal defeated world no. 3 Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes. The Spaniard kicked off the new season with a win before traveling to Melbourne for the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, prevailing in the decisive moments to emerge at the top against the opponent who defeated him in the Australian Open quarter-final a year ago.
Thiem held in the opening game following Nadal's error at the net before the Spaniard got his name on the scoreboard in game two with a service winner. Dominic held after deuce in game three with a booming serve and Rafa followed that with another comfortable hold a few minutes later for 2-2.
Thiem fired an ace to close the fifth game and remain in front, only for a couple of minutes, though, as Nadal brought the sixth game home at love to follow the rival's pace after 21 minutes. Dominic held at 30 in game seven and created a break chance in the next one, denied by Rafa, who closed the game to avoid the setback.
Rafael Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets in Adelaide.
The Austrian held at love in game nine but couldn't do the same two games later, spraying a massive forehand error at 5-5 to lose serve and push the Spaniard in front.
Serving for the set, Rafa fended off a break chance and sealed it with a forehand crosscourt winner for 7-5 after 51 minutes. Nadal held at 15 with a service winner at the beginning of the second set and held at love in game four with a smash winner to level the score at 2-2.
The Spaniard landed a volley winner in game eight for another commanding hold, serving well and hoping for a chance on the return. It came a few minutes later, and Thiem got broken following a weak slice that cost him dearly.
Serving for the triumph, Rafa placed a volley winner in game ten to move over the top and celebrate the season's first victory ahead of the official encounters in Melbourne at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, the first Major of the new year.