Australian Open: Nadal powers into third round

MELBOURNE, 11 Feb: Rafael Nadal shrugged off any lingering back soreness to storm past qualifier Michael Mmoh on Thursday for the loss of just seven games, brushing off a bizarre incident that saw fan thrown out.
The world number two has been struggling with tightness in his lower back since arriving in Australia last month, but showed few signs of it with the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena.
He crushed the American 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a match interrupted in the second set when a woman was ejected after heckling him and directing rude gestures in his direction.
The Spanish great took it in his stride, grinning and playing football with the ball while he waited, seemingly enjoying having spectators back.
Asked afterwards whether he knew her, he replied: “No, and honestly I don’t want to know.”
He will next play Britain’s Cameron Norrie in his quest for a 21st Grand Slam title.
“I always try to be better, sometimes it happens and sometimes not. Tonight has been a positive evening for me, winning in straight sets.
“For me, I am now just focusing on what is coming because that is going to be more difficult,” he added.
The writing was on the wall, with Nadal enjoying a perfect record against qualifiers at the Australian Open, where he has reached the round of 32 every time he has played, barring his shock first round exit in 2016.
Nadal sent Serb Laslo Djere packing with little drama in the opening round and it was a similar story with Mmoh, whose father Tony twice played at the Australian Open. (AFP)