Melbourne/UNI: Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal sailed into the third round of the Australian Open without dropping a set against Yannick Hanfmann of Germany on Wednesday.
Nadal registered a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over Hanfmann in two hours and 42 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
The 35-year-old Spaniard will next face either 28th seed Russian Karen Khachanov, over whom he holds an unbeaten 7-0 record, or Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
"I know he (Hanfmann) is dangerous. The result against Thanasi in the first round here says he is playing great," Nadal said in an on-court interview.
"Player with big shots, good serve, very high potential, no? His level of tennis is much higher than his ranking says, without a doubt," he added.
The 30-year-old Hanfmann deployed a series of successful drop shots and booming ground strokes and, in the fifth game, drew the first break point chance of the match but failed to convert.
In reply, Nadal steered a backhand winner down the line to snag break point, clinching it with a crisp volley to take a 4-2 lead.
Hanfmann saved three break points across this first two service games of the second set before capitulating as Nadal executed a pair of consecutive trademark whipping forehand winners to snare a 5-3 lead.
The Spaniard gave fans another reason to wave flags bearing his nation's red and yellow hues, sealing the set as Hanfmann sailed a forehand wide.
Nadal broke in the third game of the third set when Hanfmann sent a forehand long to end a breathtaking 22-stroke rally, drawing a roar from the frustrated German.
Later, serving at 3-5, Hanfmann stared down two match points, saving both with skillfully-placed volleys.
The German saved another two match points in Nadal's next service game, one with a superb overhand. But he was unable to overcome Nadal.