World No.1 Rafael Nadal cruised to a sweeping three-set victory over Gael Monfils on Saturday in the third round of the Australian Open.
Winning every set he’s played thus far, the Spaniard won 6-1 6-2 6-3 after shaking off an early injury scare in the second set. Up 2-1 in the second, Nadal began to limp and favored his right foot as he crossed to the changeover chair.
Still Nadal shook it off and moves on to the fourth round where he will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who beat American Donald Young 7-5 6-1 6-0 earlier in the day.
It was the fifth straight third-round exit in Melbourne for No. 32 ranked Monfils, and he is now 2-10 all-time against Nadal.
Even as Nadal dominated Monfils in the first set, the crowd at Rod Laver Stadium grew silent when he began to limp, knowing full well this was the same player who has battled injuries for most of his illustrious career.
Monfils at first took advantage of the weakened Nadal by winning the fourth game of the second set, and forced a 2-2 tie with a powerful forehand that Nadal couldn’t return. But that proved to be Monfils last gasp and Nadal powered through by winning the next four games.
Before the injury snag, Nadal began toying with the Frenchman. Already up 4-0 in the first set Nadal fired off a spinning backhand volley that Monfils could only send into the net.