Nadal beats Ebden to reach third round

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Second seed Rafael Nadal reached the third round of the Australian Open with a straightforward victory over Australia’s Matthew Ebden.

The Spaniard, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, overcame his 47th-ranked opponent 6-3 6-2 6-2 in Melbourne.

Nadal is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win each of the four Grand Slam titles at least twice.

The 32-year-old will play Alex de Minaur after his battling 6-4 6-2 6-7 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 win over Henri Laaksonen.

Ebden had an early chance to take the lead, creating three break points on the Nadal serve in the first set.

However he was unable to convert them, with a missed backhand volley allowing Nadal back into the game before the Spaniard held for 4-3.

Nadal – who won the Melbourne title in 2009 – then broke in the next game as Ebden double-faulted and served out the first set in 35 minutes.

His remodeled quicker serve worked well, with Nadal hitting six aces and winning 81% of first-serve points.

The only slight sign of nerves came when Nadal served for the match, with Ebden saving match point before creating another break opportunity.

However, Nadal produced a fine body serve to wrong-foot his opponent and hit a clean forehand winner to secure the match. (BBC Sport)

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