Rafael Nadal got his Australian Open campaign underway in emphatic fashion. Marcos Giron seemed a tricky first round opponent for the Spaniard, but he looked confident and relaxed in his first Grand Slam outing since Roland Garros 2021. Nadal’s movement and footwork looked excellent, after recovering from a troublesome foot injury. The 2009 champion emerged victorious in straight sets, 6-1 6-4 6-2.
Rafael Nadal Crushes Marcos Giron
Nadal started off proceedings with some big serving and ferocious forehands. There was an impressive amount of power to his serve that was almost reminiscent of the 2013 US Open, where he was serving bombs all tournament.
The players traded holds of serve to begin with, but it didn’t take long for Nadal to sink his teeth into the Giron serve. The American seemed fairly erratic and was struggling to find any real rhythm, with Nadal’s heavy top spin forehand causing him lots of problems at the back of the court.
Nadal broke for a 3-1 lead, and continued his dominance on serve. He piled the pressure on Giron’s serve, and his aggression allowed him to dictate the vast majority of points. Rafa grabbed himself another break, and had a 5-1 lead to serve the first set out.
Nadal held strong and took the first set 6-1, hitting 74% of his first serves in. He also hit 8 winners and 5 unforced errors.
The Spaniard didn’t let up at the beginning of the second set, breaking in the first game. After being broken, Giron managed to find his rhythm somewhat, and was looking more comfortable on serve.
Nadal was far less convincing on serve in the second, with the American getting a foothold in a number of return games. Though Nadal was under a bit more pressure, he held firm and kept the single break in tact.
Giron and Nadal continued to trade holds of serve, with Nadal having a number of set points on the American’s serve at 5-3. Giron managed to serve his way out of trouble and hit some scintillating groundstrokes to stay in the set, leaving Nadal to serve it out.
Nadal looked slightly rusty as he tried to close it out, but clinched a set point courtesy of some powerful forehands. The scrappiness of the set was evident in the stats – Nadal hit 13 winners in comparison to 17 unforced errors, converting 1/5 break points. His struggles on serve were evident too, with his first serves in down at 59%.
However, Nadal was still too strong and led 6-1 6-4.
The Spaniard began the third set in identical fashion by breaking in the first game. His topspin forehands continued to make things tricky for Giron, and it was evident there was only going to be one winner from here.
Nadal looked more comfortable on serve again, for the most part, and kept the pressure on his opponent. The errors kept flowing from Giron as he struggled to deal with Nadal’s spin and the consistently high bounce. Before long, Rafa broke for 4-1 and held to make it 5-1.
Giron managed to hold serve to force Nadal to serve it out, and even earned himself a break point in the following game. However, Nadal pulled out some monster serves, and the match was over.
Despite some flashes of brilliance from Giron, it wasn’t a good enough performance to bother the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Nadal looked solid and confident on his return to Grand Slam tennis, and it was the ideal way to get things going.
He now awaits the winner of Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.