World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will face an uphill battle in the third round of the Australian Open 2019 as he will meet the rising 19-year-old Australian ace Alex de Minaur.
Watch & bet on Rafael Nadal v Alex de Minaur live with bet365 here* on Friday, January 18. The Nadal v De Minaur match timings will be announced soon.
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Nadal v De Minaur Head to Head
Nadal and De Minaur have met only once before. That encounter took place under similar circumstances at the Wimbledon, where the Spaniard defeated his young Australian adversary in straight sets to make it to the second week. With that win, Nadal now leads 1-0 in the head to head tally.
A Superb Start for Nadal
Nadal started the 2019 ATP Season amid speculation that he wasn’t fully fit. He withdrew early from the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and shortly after that, he skipped the Brisbane International.
However, since arriving in Melbourne, the 2008 champion has appeared to be in the best of form. He has been absolutely brilliant and has given no reason to doubt that he is unfit to play. So far, he has won both of his matches in straight sets.
After dispatching the Australian James Duckworth in the first round, he met Matthew Ebden in the second. This match proved to be easier for the second seed, who won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in little under two hours. He committed only 15 unforced errors and kept his first service win rate at 80%. Additionally, his service was never broken throughout the match.
Nadal ended his previous season as the World No. 2 after he skipped the rest of the tournaments post the US Open. He took the remainder of the season to recover from his injuries but by that, he had accumulated enough ranking points to ensure to top two finish. He successfully won the French Open, along with the Rogers Cup, Rome Masters, ATP Barcelona, and Monte-Carlo Masters.
Is this De Minaur’s Time to Step up?
Alex de Minaur is currently the World No. 29 – his best singles ranking ever and is also the Australian No. 1. The 19-year-old won his first ATP title in Sydney earlier this year, where he defeated the likes of Gilles Simon and Andreas Seppi. Prior to that, he played in Brisbane where he reached the quarterfinal.
The Australian was quite brilliant throughout the course of the previous season. He was the runner-up at ATP Washington and Sydney, along with the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. He also played in a couple of Challenger tournaments where he developed his form and confidence.
As for his run in the Australian Open so far, he first defeated the Portuguese Pedro Sousa in straight sets. He then met the Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen, who made things difficult for the young Aussie.
It took De Minaur three hours and 55 minutes to win the match 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-3. Considering the statistics, the unseeded Australian made a lot of unforced errors and kept his first service win rate at a mere 67%.
Nadal v De Minaur – Who Will Win?
De Minaur may have the local support but Nadal has the odds and experience in his favour. The Spaniard was the runner-up here in 2017 and is more than capable of playing on big stages and going the distance. He has been quite clinical throughout the tournament. While this match may go beyond three sets, we can expect Nadal to win this one.
You can watch & bet on Rafael Nadal v Alex de Minaur live with bet365 here on Friday, January 18.