World No. 1, Rafael Nadal continues his quest for a second Australian Open title on Thursday when he takes on Argentine, Federico Delbonis in the second round.
Rafael Nadal vs Federico Delbonis Match Info
Date: Thursday January 22
Tournament: Australian Open R2
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 8:30pm local time (9.30am GMT)
Rafael Nadal vs Federico Delbonis Head-to-Head
Nadal leads 3-0
2016 | Rio R64: Nadal bt. Delbonis 6-2 6-1
2015 | Buenos Aires QF: Nadal bt. Delbonis 6-1 6-1
2013 | Vina del Mar R16: Nadal bt. Delbonis 6-3 6-2
Rafael Nadal vs Federico Delbonis Match Preview
Nadal opened his campaign with a routine 6-2 6-3 6-0 dispatch of Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, powering through his Melbourne opener in just over two hours.
The great Spaniard converted 70% of points on his first serve, striking 38 winners and just 21 unforced errors. He also frequented the net quite often, winning a very efficient 19 of 23 points in the forecourt.
“It’s been a solid start. I think the third set was a great set. I think I played a very good level of tennis,” Nadal said. “The first two, I played with a little more caution… Just trying to play a solid game with not many mistakes”.
“Then, of course, with an advantage in the score, I tried to play the way that I really believe I need to play if I want to have a positive result here.”
Nadal won his solitary Australian Open title back in 2009, when he defeated Roger Federer in an epic five-set final. He has come close to doubling his Melbourne tally a few times over the last eleven years, reaching the final in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019, but he fell short on each occasion. The Australian Open remains the only major Nadal has not won at least twice. The 33-year-old has got a fairly good draw this year, as he has managed to avoid rivals, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in his half. He could play Dominic Thiem in the quarter finals, while Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are among his potential semi-final opponents- if he gets that far.
The great man currently sits on 19 Grand Slam title- one behind Federer’s record- having added two more in 2019. Nadal won his customary Roland Garros title, and added a fourth US Open crown to his collection in September. He also won titles in Rome and Montreal, and wrestled away the year-end No. 1 ranking from Djokovic to cap another supreme season.
While he helped Spain reach the final of the ATP Cup at the start of 2020, he wasn’t quite at his very best, losing to David Goffin and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard knows he will need to play a lot better if he’s to go all the way in Melbourne, and he’ll get another opportunity to effect those improvements when he faces Delbonis on Thursday.
Delbonis is into the second round of the Australian Open for only the second time in his career, after beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the opening round.
The Argentine left-hander is competing in Melbourne for the seventh straight season, but only once, in 2016, had he gone past the first round, until 2020.
Back in 2016, he defeated Ivo Karlovic and Renzo Olivo before falling to Gilles Simon in the third round. That remains the only time he’s made the third round of a major.
Delbonis suffered consecutive first round exits between 2017 and 2019, but he bucked that trend on Tuesday, scoring a 6-3 6-4 7-6 victory over Sousa. The world No. 76 struck 11 aces and converted 76% of points on his first serve, while he saved all three break points he faced. Delbonis fired 46 winners and 31 unforced errors in the first round contest, while he was 9 of 10 at the net in a very clean performance.
That victory was also his first main draw win of the season, as he had lost to James Duckworth in the first round in Adelaide- his only previous tour-level event in 2020. In fact, prior to Tuesday’s victory over Sousa, Delbonis had not won a tour-level main draw match since July last year, when he defeated Marco Cecchinato in Hamburg.
His best results in 2019 were on clay, as he reached semi-finals in Cordoba, Geneva and Bastad, while he notably made the third round in Miami, where he took a set off Novak Djokovic before losing in there. The Argentine also won a Challenger title in Perugia, while he made a final in Montevideo at the end of the year. There was no significant change in his ranking, as he hovered between 63rd and 84th through the season, and finished at 76th. His career high ranking is 33rd, which he attained in 2016- the year he reached the third round of the Australian Open, and picked up his most recent tour-level title in Marrakech. He won his other ATP title in Sao Paolo back in 2014.
Rafael Nadal vs Federico Delbonis Match Prediction
Nadal has absolutely dominated Delbonis in all of their three previous meetings, winning all six sets and dropping just ten games across all the matches. Only once has the great Spaniard lost more than three games in a set against the Argentine. There isn’t much evidence to suggest a change in fortunes for Delbonis on Thursday.