Aus Open: Nadal's "Rafa slam" quest is on

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Rafael Nadal
Melbourne, Jan 18: Rafael Nadal's quest for the Australian Open title 2011 started in an emphatic fashion as the Spaniard ripped through Brazil's Marcos Daniel who retired with the world number cruising at 6-0 5-0.

Nadal, who in Australian Open 2010, had to quit mid-way during his match with Andy Murray, appeared to be in top form. If he manages to win the title, then he will join the elite club of Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) as the only men to hold all four major crowns at the same time. He surrendered just four points in the first-set lasting 19 minutes.

32-year old Marcos Daniel, who had injured his left knee during training two days ago, tried valiantly to play through the pain barrier, but Nadal who had by then sensed his troubles made him move around the court, making it nearly impossible for him to carry on.

Nadal was honest enough to admit the strategy and said, "For sure I am a professional and I try my best in every point, no? That's the best thing for respect the opponent in that situation. I think that's the best way, no? So sometimes if you do something and you let him win a game is worst, no?"

Daniel said, "When I finished my practice, I feel the pain but not that really hard. Then at the beginning [of the match] already it was tough to move," and added, "Against him if you are not 100 per cent focused on the match, it is impossible against those guys."

The swashbuckling Spaniard will now take on either either Ryan Sweeting or Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the 2nd round.

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