MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rafael Nadal didn't get it all his own way in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena, needing five match points before beating 126th-ranked German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to move into the third round at the Australian Open.
The sixth-seeded Nadal, aiming for a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title, had two match points on Hanfmann's serve and two more on his own in the next game before finally clinching a spot in the third round when his rival sent a forehand long.
Nadal converted only four of his 16 break-point chances, including one of eight in the third set, but faced only two break points on his own serve and fended them both off.
For the 35-year-old Nadal, after fatigue and injuries curtailed his 2021 season following the French Open, time on court is more important than anything.
"I said here before the tournament started, things are not going to be perfect, but every day that I'm going to spend on court, the chances to play better are higher,'' he said. "After two matches is the moment to make a step forward. I'm excited about it."
Federer is skipping the Australian Open while he continues his recovery from injury. Djokovic, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, was deported after an 11-day saga that he ultimately lost because he didn't meet Australia's strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations.
The third-seeded Zverev has a perfect record against players at their home majors. He's now 2-0 against Australians at the Australian Open, 3-0 against French players at Roland Garros and 4-0 against Americans at the US Open. He has never faced a British player at Wimbledon.
"I'm prepared that everyone will hate me after the match. I think it's quite accurate. I'll get a lot of boos,'' he said jokingly during his on-court TV interview to cheers from the crowd. "To be honest, sports needs the atmosphere. Sports needs the people. I enjoy the atmosphere. I enjoy the noise.''
In two marathon five-setters, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov held off Kwon Soon-woo 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-2 in 4 hours, 25 minutes on Margaret Court Arena, and Sebastian Korda edged Corentin Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (6) in 4:47.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.