Nadal must beat white stripe fever – Tracy Austin writes about Rafa’s hard court game and chances
The key for Nadal is to trust his attack, not to play 10 feet behind the baseline and try to dominate matches with his huge left-handed forehand and sharp backhand crosscourt. While tireless defence is his forte and he cannot completely go away from his base, he is capable of hitting big first serves, occasionally closing points out at the net, mixing it up and being aggressive with his return.
The world No1 took a cold shower before the second-round match and used ice to cool his head and neck to combat the Melbourne heat which went past 95°F today.
There was also stifling humidity but the Spaniard wasn’t troubled as he needed just one hour and 37 minutes to beat the world No92.
Nadal looked a little rusty in the opening four games as a fired up Karanusic threw everything he could at the world No 1. But Nadal broke serve in the fifth game to go 3-2 ahead before closing out the remainder of the set.
“First big opponent. It’s going to be a very good test to see how I am. Seems he’s playing well,” Nadal said.