Nadal shrugs off Monfils

Congleton Guardian: Rafael Nadal won in straight sets (AP) Rafael Nadal won in straight sets (AP)

Rafael Nadal sent a message to his rivals with a clinical display to defeat dangerous Frenchman Gael Monfils in the third round of the Australian Open.

Monfils, with his flashy shots and crowd-pleasing style, has caused a degree of trouble for Nadal in the past but not this time.

The Frenchman managed just three games in the first two sets and, although he fared better in the third, it was Nadal who eased to a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory.

Things may have been different had Monfils responded to a break of his serve in the first game by hitting straight back.

He had three chances but each time Nadal found the answer, and it was not until the fifth game that Monfils got on the board.

There were a smattering of stunning winners from the 27-year-old but far too many loose shots to put any pressure on his opponent.

The only concern for Nadal came in the fourth game of the second set when he slightly rolled his ankle, but he did not require any treatment and a run of four straight games followed.

Monfils began to serve better in the third set and for the first time managed sustained pressure on the Nadal delivery, but every break point was met with rock solid play by the world number one.

And it was no surprise when Monfils blazed a forehand metres over the baseline to hand Nadal the break and a chance to serve for the match.

He took it with the minimum of fuss and goes forward to a fourth-round meeting with Japan's Kei Nishikori.

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