Rafael Nadal laughs during an exchange with a fan during his Australian Open second-round match
While Nadal’s progress was smooth on the court, the Spaniard was briefly halted by an extraordinary exchange with a fan – who was then ejected – as he served for the second set

Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal will meet Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the Australian Open third round after both won their matches on Thursday.

Nadal’s bid for an outright men’s record 21st Grand Slam continued with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over American qualifier Michael Mmoh on Rod Laver Arena.

British number three Norrie eventually beat Russia’s Roman Safiullin to reach the last 32 for the first time.

After a long rain delay, Norrie clinched a 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win.

Norrie looked tight as he failed to serve out a landmark victory at 6-5, but regained his composure to win a tense fourth-set tie-break and tee up a first career-meeting with Nadal.

The Briton roared in celebration after landing a first serve which Safiullin could only return into the net on the first of his three match points.

When told Nadal had also clinched victory a few minutes earlier, Norrie replied: “Sweet. For someone like me, I don’t think about the draw but I saw yesterday he was next to me.

“I’ve never played him before so it will be a great match, a great experience. I can’t wait to show him what I’ve got.”

Norrie came through after three hours and 31 minutes on court, but almost six hours after he first started playing Russian qualifier Safiullin on the outside court eight.

The pair were tied at 1-1 in the fourth set when rain forced them off for almost an hour and a half.

With the weather failing to improve, It looked like they may have to return on Friday to complete their match.

However, good fortune came their way in the shape of American Jessica Pegula thrashing Australian wildcard Sam Stosur 6-0 6-1 in just 50 minutes, allowing them to resume on Margaret Court Arena after that match.

On Melbourne Park’s second show court, Norrie started quickly with the backing of a boisterous crowd which had stayed behind to watch the bonus action.

The world number 69 pushed for another break of serve in their first game back, but was unable to convert any of three opportunities before Safiullin closed out a much-needed hold.

More pressure came from the Briton at 5-5 and, after making several unforced errors as five more break points disappeared, benefitted from Safiullin clipping the net to secure a 6-5 advantage.

He was not able to serve out victory, but regained focus to dominate the tie-break.

“I used the crowd to my advantage, you were great,” he told them afterwards.

“Playing on court eight and then coming inside to Margaret Court Arena, it was definitely a different match after that.

“We both raised our level and I’m happy to come through.”

More to follow.

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