Nadal sets up 'Demon' sequel after teaching 16-year-old

Alex de Minaur has been handed the chance to achieve what would once have been thought of as 'mission impossible' -- knocking out Rafael Nadal from two Spanish clay-court tournaments in successive weeks.

The rematch, following de Minaur's victory over the king of clay in last week's Barcelona Open, will come at the Madrid Open after Nadal warmed up ruthlessly for the encounter on Thursday by handing out a rather brutal lesson to a 16-year-old US wildcard Darwin Blanch.

Nadal, still making his way back after injury and with questions over whether he'll make it to one final French Open, effectively treated the match as a training exercise as he crushed the green teen, who was making only his second tour-level appearance, 6-1 6-0 in 64 one-sided minutes .

De Minaur Nadal
De Minaur versus Nadal, the clay-court sequel, is set for Saturday in Madrid. (EPA PHOTO)

Their mismatch also featured the largest age gap - 21 years and 117 days - in the history of ATP Masters 1000 matches, but Nadal offered a faint smile as he pondered what will be a much more forbidding encounter against de Minaur in Saturday's second round.

In Barcelona eight days ago, de Minaur outplayed the 37-year-old Nadal 7-5 6-1 on the court named in his honour, and the five-time Madrid winner is just glad to be savouring his return to the 'Caja Magica' - Magic Box - arena one final time before he hangs up his racquet.

"Just trying to enjoy every moment. Tomorrow, one more day of practice here - and then after tomorrow, on court again. That makes me feel great," said Nadal.

"I think today I played against an opponent with a great future in front of him. I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks.

"It worked well. I'm happy to be through and I wish him (Blanch) all the very best for the future."

De Minaur and Jordan Thompson, who both enjoyed first-round byes, will be joined by another Sydneysider in the second round after Max Purcell enjoyed a fine comeback win over American Marcos Giron 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) on Thursday.

It was a tense affair with the Australian world No.80 rewarded for perhaps being the more daring and ambitious of the evenly-matched pair when it came to the final-set tiebreak.

Purcell, who had been robbed by some bad luck late in the set, finally got a lucky break of his own at the beginning of that tiebreak when his forehand into the net plopped apologetically off the cord and over for a winner that set him on the road to victory in two-and-a-quarter hours.

In the next round, he'll face American 25th seed Sebastian Korda, who hasn't been making waves of late while his superstar sister Nelly has been dominating the golfing world with five LPGA victories in a row.

Hopes of more Australian interest in the second round were scuppered when Chris O'Connell was well beaten 6-4 6-1 by Matteo Arnaldi, who had featured in the Italian team that beat Lleyton Hewitt's team in the final of last year's Davis Cup.