After another straight-set win, Nadal is into the third round in Oz

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Rafael Nadal hasn't lost a set through two rounds at the Australian Open. (AP)

Last year, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal faced Leonardo Mayer in the third round of the US Open. The two played inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Mayer surprisingly gave Nadal a scare. 

In that match, Mayer came out firing and ended up winning the first set in a tiebreaker. That was, however, the end of Mayer's fun. 

Nadal would go on to win the next three sets, ultimately winning the match, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

On Wednesday, Rafa picked up right where he left off against the 30-year-old Argentine, defeating Mayer, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4), on Rod Laver Arena.

Despite the lopsided score, it wasn't exactly a perfect performance for Nadal, who did have a small hiccup in the third set. Serving for the match at 5-4, Rafa allowed Mayer to break. That gave his opponent the smallest bit of life, but Nadal recovered and was still able to win the set in a tiebreaker.

Getting to that point brought out some emotion in Nadal, who gave the crowd a jumping fist pump after taking a 4-2 lead in the breaker. 

Match Point: 

Despite looking lousy in an exhibition match against Richard Gasquet before the Australian Open began, Nadal has looked rather sharp in Melbourne Park thus far. Rafa won his opening-round match 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 against veteran Victor Estrella, and he didn't look much worse against Mayer on Wednesday. 

What stood out the most against Mayer was Nadal's timing. He was completely in rhythm, tracking down every ball with ease and placing his shots exactly where he wanted. 

If this is the Nadal that we see for the remainder of the tournament then it's hard to imagine him suffering a loss before the quarterfinals at the earliest. His health, however, has always been a concern, so it's important that he takes it one round at a time. 

Rafa's third-round opponent is set to be world No. 30 Damir Dzumhur, who is certainly no pushover. The 25-year-old defeated Aussie John Millman, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the second round. It was an impressive victory considering the fact that the locals were doing everything they could to help give Millman a boost. 

Nadal has only faced Dzumhur once in his career, with that match coming at the Miami Masters in 2016. The match ended with Nadal retiring after going down 3-0 in the third set. Nadal had won the first set 6-2, but Dzumhur responded to win the second 6-4. 


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