Nadal through to 4th round at Australian Open

AP, Saturday 22 Jan 2011

Rafael Nadal didn’t let the much-hyped potential future star of Australian tennis stop him in his quest for a fourth consecutive major title

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after beating Bernard Tomic of Australia (Photo: AP)

Overcoming a mostly parochial crowd of 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena, the top-ranked Nadal had a 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 win over 18-year-old wild card Bernard Tomic in an Australian Open third-round match Saturday. Nadal advanced to a fourth-round match against Marin Cilic, and a continuing date with destiny.

A title at Melbourne Park would make the Spanish star the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam trophies at once, although Laver achieved the true Grand Slam by winning all four in a calendar year.

“I think I started playing well, but he’s the kind of player who can make you play bad,” Nadal said of Tomic. “I have to play a bit better if I want to get to the quarterfinals.”

It wasn’t always easy—Nadal trailed 4-0 in the second set before giving Tomic a clinic in comeback tennis. At 5-5, he broke Tomic’s service, then held in the next game to clinch the set.

Tomic, who upset Fernando Lopez in the second round and is being touted as a replacement for Lleyton Hewitt in the lean tennis fortunes Down Under, tried his best but ultimately was no match for the polished and experienced Nadal.

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