Rafael Nadal praises Hugo Dellien in straight-sets victory

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Rafael Nadal praises Hugo Dellien in straight-sets victory

World no. 1 and the champion from 2009 Rafael Nadal is through to the second round at the Australian Open, beating Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and two minutes. Playing for the first time since that loss to Novak Djokovic at the ATP Cup, Nadal dictated the pace against the debutant with 38 winners and 21 unforced errors, dropping 19 points behind the initial shot and suffering two breaks from five chances offered to the Bolivian when he was already miles in front.

On the other hand, Hugo struggled on both the first and second serve against the world's leading player, dropping 53% of the points behind the initial shot and giving eight service games away from 18 opportunities that Rafa created in total.

The Spaniard landed a forehand winner in the second game to secure a break, fending off two break chances in the next game after unforced errors from Dellien who wasted no less than five game points a few minutes later to find himself 4-0 down when his forehand landed long.

Serving at 5-1, Nadal lost serve at 15 before closing the set with another break for a 6-2 after 52 minutes. They stayed neck and neck in the first five games of the second set and Rafa grabbed a break at love to move 4-2 up, getting broken in the next game but delivering another break to stay in front, sealing the set with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3 and another step towards the finish line.

In set number three, Hugo got broken in the first game on Nadal's sixth break chance, with the Spaniard winning all games until the end of the set to serve a bagel and advance into the second round where he plays against Federico Delbonis or Joao Sousa.

"The first five games were really competitive despite the fact I was 5-0 up; there were many deuces and he had his opportunities to win at least one of those games. Hugo is a fighter; he has a great story behind him and I'm happy to see him playing on a high level, wishing him all the best for the rest of the season; he is a great guy.

It is a good start of the campaign for me, it is always nice to win in straight sets and I'm excited to be back in Melbourne. The offseason was very short, finishing the previous year late at the Davis Cup Finals and kicking off the new one at the challenging ATP Cup; still, I feel happy about my level, starting to train a little bit slower last week and then increasing the intensity on the practice court to be competitive at the Australian Open.

This court brings a lot of memories and gives me positive energy, I want to thank the fans for coming out and watching me."