Sat, 22 Feb 2020

Melbourne - World No 1 Rafael Nadal insisted on Tuesday that matching or beating Roger Federer's record 20 Grand Slam titles is not important and he was "super happy" with his tennis career regardless.

The Spaniard launched his campaign to equal the Swiss great's mark by dropping just five games in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 annihilation of Bolivian Hugo Dellien in the Australian Open first round.

The Mallorcan, the first man to be world No 1 in three different decades, can not only match his great rival's achievement, but also become the first man in the Open era to win all four Majors at least twice if he lifts the trophy again at Melbourne Park.

It is a big ask for the 33-year-old Nadal, who has only won the title once before in Australia, against a tearful Federer in 2009, with four runner-up finishes to his name.

"I don't care about 20 or 15 or 16. I just care about trying to keep going, keep enjoying my tennis career," said Nadal.

"It's not like 20 is the number that I need to reach. If I reach 20, fantastic. If I reach 21, better. If I reach 19, super happy about all the things that I did in my tennis career.

"I am very satisfied about my tennis career because I give it all most of the time," he added. "That's the only thing that matters."

The Australian Open is the only Major Nadal has failed to win more than once, having claimed 12 titles at Roland Garros, four at the US Open and two at Wimbledon.

He has been a finalist in Melbourne four times since winning but has struggled to get over the line, something that baffles him.

"I have been a break up twice in the fifth set and I lost. Another time I have been injured in a final, of course, against a great opponent," he said on why he had not been able to convert in Australia.

Nadal, in a pink sleeveless shirt and matching shoes, was in total charge against the world No 73 Dellien, storming to a 5-0 lead in the opening set before the Bolivian held serve, then against the odds broke, before the Spaniard served out the set.

Underdog Dellien was broken in the sixth game of the second set but hit back again to break Nadal for the second time in the match before the top seed again rallied to restore control with some sizzling forehands down the line.

Nadal raced 3-0 up in the third set as his physicality and power shone through.

The Spaniard next plays either Argentine Federico Delbonis or Portugal's Joao Sousa and said he never looked further ahead than the next match.

"I think about Sousa or Delbonis, that's all. I think about my practice tomorrow, try to follow up the level of tennis that I played in the third set," he said.

"That should be my main goal. I need to play at my highest level if I want to keep going in the tournament.

"If I am able to reach my highest level, that's the thing that I have to worry about.

"If I am able to play at my highest level, normally I am able to produce some good chances.

"If not, impossible."

Results on day two of the Australian Open Grand Slam at Melbourne Park on Tuesday:

Men's singles

First round

Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-2, 6-3, 6-0

Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x27) bt Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2)

Mikael Ymer (SWE) bt Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-4, 6-1, 6-2

Karen Khachanov (RUS x16) bt Mario Vilella (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

Gael Monfils (FRA x10) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Aljaz Bedene (SLO) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x20) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

Alex Bolt (AUS) bt Albert Ramos (ESP) 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4

Dominic Thiem (AUT x5) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3, 7-5, 6-2

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x28) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-1, 0-0 abandon

Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x15) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4

Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt Elliot Benchetrit (FRA) 6-2, 6-0, 6-3

Andrey Rublev (RUS x17) bt Christopher O'Connell (AUS) 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x26) bt Kwon Soon-woo (KOR) 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 7-5, 6-2, 6-1

Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Marco Trungelliti (ARG) 6-1, 6-4, 7-5

Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2

Fabio Fognini (ITA x12) bt Reilly Opelka (USA) 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (10/5)

Jannik Sinner (ITA) bt Max Purcell (AUS) 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-4

Tommy Paul (USA) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Hubert Hurkacz (POL x31) bt Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-7 (4/7), 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4

John Millman (AUS) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 1-6, 7-5

Filip Krajinovic (SRB) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 4-6, 7-5

Christian Garin (CHI) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Milos Raonic (CAN x32) bt Lorenzo Giustino (ITA) 6-2, 6-1, 6-3

Benoit Paire (FRA x21) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-0

Marin Cilic (CRO) bt Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

Michael Mmoh (USA) bt Pablo Andújar (ESP) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

Roberto Bautista (ESP x9) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-2, 6-2, 7-5

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x14) bt Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) bt Norbert Gombos (SVK) 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

Marc Polmans (AUS) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (8/10), 6-4

Dusan Lajovic (SRB x24) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Tatsuma Ito (JPN) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 6-4, 6-2, 7-5

Women's singles

First round

Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3

Greet Minnen (BEL) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 7-5

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x29) bt Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-3, 6-2

Alison Riske (USA x18) bt Yafan Wang (CHN) 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 6-3

Madison Keys (USA x10) bt Darya Kasatkina (RUS) 6-3, 6-1

Arantxa Rus (NED) bt Magda Linette (POL) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

Nao Hibino (JPN) bt Shuai Peng (CHN) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

Maria Sakkari (GRE x22) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-2, 6-2

Ons Jabeur (TUN) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x12) 6-4, 6-2

Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-2

Dayana Yastremska (UKR x23) bt Kaja Juvan (SLO) 6-1, 6-1

Qiang Wang (CHN x27) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3

Fiona Ferro (FRA) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-2, 6-1

Belinda Bencic (SUI x6) bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-3, 7-5

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) bt Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-1, 6-4

Donna Vekic (CRO x19) bt Maria Sharapova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4

Catherine Bellis (USA) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-0, 6-2

Karolina Muchova (CZE x20) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (10/7)

Danielle Collins (USA x26) bt Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-4

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) 6-1, 6-3

Simona Halep (ROU x4) bt Jennifer Brady (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1

Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) bt Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-4, 7-5

Lauren Davis (USA) bt Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4, 6-2

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 0-6, 6-1, 6-0

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x31) 6-1, 6-1

Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Amanda Anisimova (USA x21) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Anna Blinkova (RUS) bt Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 7-5, 6-4

Arina Rodionova (AUS) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0

Kiki Bertens (NED x9) bt Irina Begu (ROU) 6-1, 6-4

Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Antonia Lottner (GER) 6-3, 6-3

Laura Siegemund (GER) bt Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-1, 6-4

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x2) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1, 7-5

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