2021 in Review: Rafael Nadal downs Laslo Djere in a milestone match

by   |  VIEW 9270

2021 in Review: Rafael Nadal downs Laslo Djere in a milestone match

Playing his 80th Australian Open match, the 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal was off to a winning start in Melbourne following a 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Laslo Djere in an hour and 52 minutes. The 2009 Australian Open winner injured his back during the Adelaide quarantine two weeks before the season's first Major, skipping the ATP Cup and hoping to make a safe start in the season's first official match.

Rafa lost serve once and scored six breaks from 11 chances, controlling the scoreboard and passing the first obstacle without issues. Rafa held at 30 in the opening game with a service winner and forced Laslo's error in game two to grab an instant break.

The Spaniard held at 15 in game three to confirm the break and settle into a fine rhythm. Laslo got his name on the scoreboard with a forehand winner in game four before Rafa broke him at love with a forehand return winner in game six for a 5-1 lead after swift 24 minutes.

Rafael Nadal reached the second round in Melbourne in style.

Djere pulled one break back a few minutes later to prolong the set and opened a 30-0 lead in game nine before Nadal claimed four straight points to wrap up the set 6-3.

The Spaniard produced four excellent holds in set number two and broke the Serb when Laslo netted a backhand in game three. Djere survived two more break chances in game seven to remain within one break deficit, returning at 4-5 to stay in the set.

Ready to fight, Laslo created three break chances that could have prolonged the set before Nadal erased them and sealed the set with a service winner to open a massive advantage and gather a boost. In the third set's first game, Laslo hit a double fault to suffer a break before Rafa cemented it with a forehand winner in game two.

The Spaniard produced another comfortable hold in game four with an unreturned serve and forced Djere's error to grab a break and open a 4-1 gap. In the sixth game, Rafa erased a break chance with a brilliant forehand down the line winner and sealed the deal at 5-1 when Laslo hit a double fault for a place in the second round.