Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nadal thrills Melbourne, Barty and Osaka on collision course



Nadal thrills Melbourne, Barty and Osaka on collision course

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rafael Nadal hits a return against Yannick Hanfmann during their men’s singles match on Day 3 of the Australian Open tennis tournament on Wednesday. AFP

Nadal thrills Melbourne, Barty and Osaka on collision course

Rafael Nadal steps up his march towards a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Wednesday, with Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka also taking centre stage.

Defending champion Osaka and Wimbledon winner Barty will be one victory away from colliding if both come through their second-round encounters unscathed.

Japan’s Osaka, who has won two Australian and two US Opens, faces American Madison Brengle in the night session on Rod Laver Arena.

Red-hot Barty, the top seed and home hope, comes up against Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti in an early afternoon encounter.

Nadal, who recently won his first tournament after five months out battling a foot injury, was highly impressive in racing past American Marcos Giron in straight sets on Monday to open his campaign.

“I am super-happy about all the work that we have done to try to be back. We are here enjoying the tennis,” said the Spanish sixth seed, who will face German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann after Barty’s match ends.

Nadal’s half of the draw was made easier when the unvaccinated nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was thrown out of Australia.

In the mood

The ultra-consistent Barty, who won a warm-up tournament in Adelaide, hasn’t dropped her serve for 41 straight games over four matches and destroyed Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-1 on Monday.

“I think obviously the last five or six matches I felt like I found a really good rhythm on my service games,” said the Australian, who is chasing a first home Grand Slam.

Osaka beat American Jennifer Brady in last year’s Melbourne Park final, but then withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon over mental health issues. She took an indefinite break after the US Open in September.

But the 24-year-old said she felt much more positive after her first-round win over Colombia’s Camila Osorio.

“I just want to have fun, first of all,” said the 13th seed.

“I can’t expect myself to win every match, but I do expect myself to have fun and challenge myself.”

Men’s third seed Alexander Zverev is looking to follow his Olympic gold in Tokyo last year with a first Grand Slam title.

He safely came through a tricky late-night first-round clash against fellow German Daniel Altmaier despite not being at his best.

“It’s the first round of hopefully a very long Grand Slam, you are not always going to play your best tennis,” said the 24-year-old.

He will play Australia’s John Millman, who will garner plenty of partisan vocal support in another late-night encounter on Rod Laver Arena.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova was ruthless in her dismissal of German veteran Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-0 in the first round, and a repeat of that form should see her past China’s world No100 Wang Xiyu.

Spanish eighth seed Paula Badosa, who beat Krejcikova in a three-set thriller to win the Sydney warm-up tournament, opens proceedings at 11:00am (0000 GMT) against Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan.

On the men’s side, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini, who endured frequent toilet trips in a gutsy four-set win on Monday, will hope he doesn’t need to reach for the Imodium again when he comes up against American qualifier Stefan Kozlov.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio