Damir Dzumhur looked extremely confident in his second-round match against Australian John Millman, and he had every right to be. The Bosnian won that match 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 and looked rather impressive doing so.
Friday, however, would be a whole other animal for Dzumhur, as world No. 1 Rafael Nadal was standing on the opposite side of the net.
Against Millman, Dzumhur was able to spray his shots all around the court with very little to worry about. Millman has a long history of injuries and is a bit slow-footed at this point in his career, which means he is not the type of player to chase every shot down. Unfortunately for Dzumhur, Nadal was.
From the start of the match, it was clear that Nadal was ready to outclass his opponent in every way imaginable.
Rafa needed only 23 minutes to win the first set, and it was almost surprising that Dzumhur won a game. The Bosnian won only 10 total points in the set, with a lot of that having to do with the 25-year-old committing far too many unforced errors.
The second set would prove to be more of a challenge for Nadal, but it was never in serious doubt. After going up an early break, Nadal allowed Dzumhur to break back for 2-2. That didn't sit well with Rafa, who would immediately break back for a 3-2-lead. He would cruise to a 6-3 second-set win from there.
That break for Dzumhur ended up being the only bump in the road for the world No. 1, as Nadal went on to win the third set, 6-1. Overall, it was a great showing for Rafa, who hasn't dropped a set through three rounds in Melbourne Park.
Nadal's next opponent is world No. 26 Diego Schwartzman, who could present some problems in the fourth round. The Argentinean beat Alexandr Dolgopolov on Friday, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, and he has been playing some excellent tennis as of late.
"He's a great player. He's a player that last year had an amazing year, and this year start again playing so well," Nadal said. "Being honest, he's a player that if I don't play my best, probably I don't going to win."
Nadal, however, is a perfect 3-0 against Schwartzman in ATP-level matches.
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