Australian Open: Rafael Nadal sets up Cameron Norrie showdown



By David Awopetu

Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal will meet Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the Australian Open third round after both won their matches today.

Nadal’s bid for an outright men’s record 21st Grand Slam continued with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over American qualifier Michael Mmoh on Rod Laver Arena.

British number three Norrie eventually beat Russia’s Roman Safiullin to reach the last 32 for the first time.

The Briton, Norrie, who beat fellow British Dan Evans in the opening round, stayed alive by beating the Safiullin after a rain delay at Melbourne Park.

The match re-started under the roof of the Margaret Court Arena at 10.45pm local time with Norrie two sets to one up. And the world No.69 saw off the world No.183 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-5 before the clock struck midnight.

It is the second Grand Slam in a row that world No.69 Norrie has reached the third round – he also won two matches at the US Open – and is the last British survivor.

Norrie looked tight as he failed to serve out a landmark victory at 6-5, but regained his composure to win a tense fourth-set tie-break and tee up a first career-meeting with Nadal.

The Briton roared in celebration after landing a first serve which Safiullin could only return into the net on the first of his three match points.

When told Nadal had also clinched victory a few minutes earlier, Norrie replied: “Sweet. For someone like me, I don’t think about the draw but I saw yesterday he was next to me.

“I’ve never played him before so it will be a great match, a great experience. I can’t wait to show him what I’ve got.”

Nadal was playing next door to Norrie on the Rod Laver Arena and the manner of his victory against Mmah – ranked 175 places lower than the world number two – was much more straightforward than the Briton’s nervy finish.

The 2009 champion showed no signs of the back spasms which troubled him in the build-up to the tournament, although there was one mishap – which was nothing to do with his opponent.


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