Rafael Nadal wins opening match; Swiatek beats Fernandez

Rafael Nadal started fine-tuning his quest for a twenty first Grand Slam singles title on the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Ricardas Berankis 6-2, 7-5 on Thursday in a warm-up match at Melbourne Park.

Nadal, recovering from the coronavirus, confirmed no indicators of sluggishness on Rod Laver Area, though he was damaged early within the second set and once more when he served for the match.

“It’s solely the primary match after some time. Actually, I’ve been going by means of some troublesome, difficult moments the previous year-and-a-half,” Nadal mentioned, “however basically phrases I’m tremendous blissful to be again in competitors.

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“After all it’s vital to begin with a victory, (which) provides me the possibility to play one other time tomorrow, and that’s the primary factor at this second as a result of I didn’t play for such a very long time.”

Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania performs a backhand throughout his singles match in opposition to Rafael Nadal of Spain at Summer time Set tennis match forward of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photograph/Hamish Blair)

Earlier, former French Open champion Iga Swiatek superior to the Adelaide Worldwide quarterfinals with a surprisingly simple 6-1, 6-2 win over 2021 U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez.

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The fifth-seeded Swiatek joined top-ranked Ash Barty within the final eight and can play two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who beat Priscilla Hon 6-3, 7-5.

Barty will play the winner of Thursday evening’s match between her fellow Australian Ajla Tomljaovic and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.

Seventh-seeded Elina Rybakina and American Shelby Rogers, who beat No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari, have already arrange a quarterfinal match.

The opposite last-eight matchup will function Kaja Juvan, who upset No. 2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka within the second spherical, in opposition to Misaki Doi or Anastasia Gasanova.

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“I felt actually assured,” Swiatek mentioned. “And I’m fairly blissful that I might end it actually rapidly and I didn’t let go of focus.”

The Adelaide and Melbourne tournaments are two of six tune-up occasions being staged in Australia this week forward of the season-opening main at Melbourne Park beginning Jan. 17.

Within the WTA 500 match being performed at Melbourne, second-seeded and two-time Grand Slam singles champion Simona Halep beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.

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