Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Rafael Nadal ahead – praises fight against COVID, lockdown after defeat of Cameron Norrie

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Rafael Nadal qualifies for the fourth round of the Australian Open after a straight sets victory over Britain’s world number 69 Cameron Norrie.

Nadal, who has yet to give up a single set the entire tournament, continued his hot form tonight despite back pain, crossing relatively comfortably, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5. He has now reached the last 16 places in the Australian Open for the 14th time in his career.

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The 20-time Grand Slam winner was scared early in the first set when Norrie won the game’s first break, but that didn’t seem to shake Nadal who had no trouble responding.

Nadal, the No. 2 seed, had only one double fault and was only beaten once in total. Unusually, he had more unforced errors (35) than winners (33).

Nadal will now play Fabio Fognini on Monday after the The Italian defeated Australia’s Minaur in straight sets.

“I think I didn’t convert the opportunities I had at the start of each set so things got a bit more difficult,” Nadal said after the game.

“Then of course you play against the best players in the world so it’s normal that you suffer a bit. But I’m happy. Of course I have to keep improving, but I’m in the second week, that is, ‘is the main thing for me now. “

When Nadal was asked about the atmosphere and how he felt playing without fans in attendance, the Spaniard took the opportunity to salute Australia’s fight against the coronavirus following the five-day Victorian government lockdown introduced the last night.

“The feeling is completely different [without fans], nobody wants that, ”he said.

“As I have said on several occasions, now is not the time to forget the situation we are facing.

“It’s a time to be responsible. Australia is one of the best examples in the world.

“Maximum respect for what they are doing. I hope the situation improves.”

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– with AP


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