London, July 8 (IANS) Australia’s Alex de Minaur, world number 80, was no match for Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal, the world number 1, who defeated him 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in Wimbledon’s third round on Saturday.
With the win, Nadal ensured that he would keep the top spot of the ATP ranking upon its release following the tournament.
Having reached the round of 16, where he fell in 2017, Nadal will maintain at least a 50-point advantage in the ATP ranking over his main rival, Roger Federer of Switzerland, who is the defending champion and so will not add any points to his ranking from this year’s tournament, Efe news reported.
At a match attended by Australian tennis legend Rod Laver and golfer Sergio Garcia, the Augusta Masters champion, second-seed Nadal displayed strength against his 19-year-old rival.
Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal stormed to a 6-1 lead in just 33 minutes based on the strength of two service breaks, while remaining untouchable on serve, as he faced no break points during the opener.
Nadal’s powerful forehand and his effectiveness on serve — winning more than 80 per cent of the first and second serve put in play during the second set — proved more than De Minaur could handle.
De Minaur squandered two break points during the second set, and conceded his own the same number of times to fall two sets behind.
With everything on the line, De Minaur forced Nadal into longer rallies, giving one of the trademark performances that have distinguished him as a promising young player.
Squandering a break point, De Minaur saw his serve broken once in the third set, which proved to be decisive.
Although the Australian fended off a match point, he was unable to save the second, with Nadal approached the net playing a backhand volley to seal the win.
In the next round, Nadal is to take on either Fabio Fognini of Italy, world number 16, or Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, world number 93.