'Rafael Nadal is not as free-flowing as we usually see him', says analyst

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'Rafael Nadal is not as free-flowing as we usually see him', says analyst

Quite easy victory for Rafael Nadal in the third round match of the Australian Open 2021 against the British Cameron Norrie. The Spaniard won in just over two hours with a score of 7-5 6-2 7-5. In the round of 16 the Majorcan champion will face Fabio Fognini for a match that promises to be highly spectacular.

Nadal immediately starts strong by getting a break point in the second game on which the Briton is saved (1-1). Norrie can do nothing in her next round of service with the Spaniard moving to 3-2. When everyone thinks that the set has already been decided as number 69 in the world, also favored by some uncertainty of the Iberian, he finds the counterbreak and parity (3-3).

Here are some quick games and without too many jolts. Just in the final Nadal places the winning paw on Norrie's serve and takes home the first set with a score of 7-5. The Spaniard in the second set raises the pace of his game and after touching the break in the fourth game he finds him in the sixth (4-2).

Norrie fails to worry the Iberian in his shifts and this allows Nadal to calmly manage the progress of the match. The world number 2 dominates the final part of the set and closes 6-2. The third set is very balanced. The Majorcan champion immediately tries to break but the Briton is saved twice in the second game.

The following games pass quickly and without sharp details. As happened in the first set, also in this set Nadal finds the winning leg in the final and wins 7-5. The statistics clearly show the superiority of Nadal who scored 77% of points with the former against 69% of the opponent.

What really made the difference were the points scored with the second: 69% for the Spaniard and only 23% for the British. World No.2 Nadal showed he still troubled by his lingering back injury as he suffered in silence against Cam Norrie in the empty Rod Laver Arena.

The Spaniard won his 16th consecutive match against a fellow left-hander 7-5 6-2 7-5 in pursuit of a male record 21st Grand Slam title.

Durie on Rafael Nadal

But Eurosport analyst Jo Durie said: “He was not at his best.

He is not as free-flowing as we usually see Rafael Nadal”. And Nadal admitted: “Of course it was a tough match. He came here after winning a couple of matches. I didn't take the opportunities I had at the beginning of every set and the situation became a little bit more difficult.

“Break points I didn't convert them. I combined some very good games with a couple of unforced errors that I need to fix. And when you are playing against the best players in the world, it is normal you are going to suffer a little bit.

But it is normal. First matches in a long time. I have had now three matches which I hope will help me for what is coming. I am happy now but of course I need to keep improving. I am in the second week – that is the main thing for me now. I hope to be ready for Monday”.