Wimbledon 2018: Rafael Nadal cruises into fourth round with straight sets win over Alex de Minaur
The 19-year-old Alicante-based Australian played his part in an entertaining duel as he chased after everything Rafael Nadal could throw at him but the world number one stuck to his own game plan to chalk up his third successive straight-sets win.
London: Rafael Nadal was kept on Centre Court longer than he would have liked but that did not stop him from putting baby-faced Alex de Minaur firmly in his place with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win in the third round of Wimbledon on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Alicante-based Australian played his part in an entertaining duel as he chased after everything Nadal could throw at him but the world number one stuck to his own game plan to chalk up his third successive straight-sets win.
Nadal has endured his fair share of losing to young upstarts at Wimbledon, having lost to players ranked 100 or lower in four of his five previous appearances, but there was no danger of that happening on Saturday.
His main target appeared to be getting off court before the 3pm local time kickoff of England’s World Cup last-16 showdown with Sweden.
De Minaur made him play 26-minutes of extra time but the final result was never in doubt and a lunging volley winner sealed the win - and prompted a mass exodus from Centre Court as fans rushed to watch the football on their phones and tablets elsewhere in the grounds.
The Spaniard will next play either Italian maverick Fabio Fognini or Jiri Vesely as he bids to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since contesting the 2011 final.
Nadal, who captured his first Barcelona title as an 18-year-old at the 2005 tournament, will face Pablo Carreno Busta in Saturday's semi-finals.
Serbia Open: World No 1 Novak Djokovic commends Aslan Karatsev's 'bravery' following semi-final defeat
The 28th-ranked Karatsev saved 23 of 28 breakpoints to advance to his second final of the year following a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory, gaining a measure of revenge for his defeat by Djokovic in the last four of the Australian Open.
Nadal is the top seed in Madrid and will play either compatriot Carlos Alcaraz or the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the first round while he is due to meet Dominic Thiem, a finalist at the French Open in 2018 and 2019, in the last four.