Nadal gives de Minaur a tennis lesson

Rafael Nadal has ended Alex de Minaur's Australian Open campaign with a convincing victory.
Rafael Nadal has ended Alex de Minaur's Australian Open campaign with a convincing victory.

Spanish legend Rafael Nadal has put on a brutal tennis masterclass for Aussie teen Alex de Minaur in their Australian Open third round clash.

The world No.2 and 17-time grand slam champion bullied the 19-year-old on Rod Laver Arena winning 6-1 6-2 6-4.

Nadal next takes on Czech veteran Tomas Berdych, who overcame Argentinian 18th seed Diego Schwartzman in four sets earlier on Friday.

The Rod Laver Arena clash was a carbon copy of the pair's only previous meeting in the third round of Wimbledon last year, when Nadal rolled de Minaur for the exactly the same scoreline.

Declaring the youngster as the fastest player on the tour, Nadal predicted a big future for de Minaur.

"He is a big fighter and he is super quick," Nadal said.

"I think I played a very solid match and I want to congratulate Alex for a great start to the season - I think he has an amazing future."

In the coolest evening of the opening week at Melbourne Park, the slightly built de Minaur struggled with the heavy conditions.

Nadal came into the tournament under an injury cloud following ankle surgery late last year and hadn't played since the US Open but the 32-year-old looked fit and strong.

While De Minaur showed heart, saving five match points, he simply couldn't match the Spanish bull, who belted 37 winners to the young Sydneysider's total of 21.

Nadal's service game also gave the world No.29 plenty of headaches, serving at 75 per cent, with de Minaur only winning 19 per cent of points off the Spaniard's first serve.

The Australian No.1 started brightly enough with the first three games taking over 20 minutes.

He had an early break point but Nadal quickly shut down that opportunity.

Nadal made de Minaur work for every point and the physical and mental toll of going the distance to win the Sydney International title last week and his five-set win in the second round started to have an impact.

After wrapping up the first set in 40 minutes, Nadal shattered de Minaur's hopes of a second set revival, breaking him in the first game.

He ticked off that set in 48 minutes to leave de Minaur sitting with his head covered by a towel as he tried to rally himself for the third.

While there were a couple of moments for the big crowd to get behind the local hope - saving his third match point in a 24-shot rally - it was mostly one-way traffic.

Australian Associated Press