Rafael Nadal withstood a spirited performance from Leonardo Mayer to reach the third round of the Australian Open.
The world number one was not as dominant as in his first-round win over Victor Estrella Burgos but that had a lot to do with the performance of Argentinian Mayer, who refused to allow Nadal to pull away.
There was no real question of Mayer threatening an upset, as he had briefly at the US Open last summer when he won the first set of their third-round clash before Nadal’s game clicked into gear.
But he showed good resistance to break the Nadal serve when the Spaniard served for the match before going down 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7/4).
Nadal said: “It’s an important victory for me, a tough opponent. Leonardo is a player with big potential, he hits the ball so strong. I had to hit some great shots in the tie-break.
“I’m happy to be in the third round. For my team and my family this tournament is the favourite of the year so I want to stay as long as possible.”
In the last 32, Nadal will face 28th seed Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia, who defeated Australian John Millman 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-1.