Rafael Nadal sparked controversy in his third round Australian Open clash against local hope Alex de Minaur, after getting away with a crucial challenge in the first set.
The Spanish number two seed went into the clash as a heavy favourite but he got away with a fortunate moment early on in the contest.
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Serving at 1-1 in the opener, Nadal looked to be in a spot of trouble when he hit a forehand that was called long by the linesman.
It would have given De Minaur a vital early break in the match but the Aussie’s apparent joy was shortlived.
Following apparent advice from his player’s box, Nadal signalled that he wanted to challenge the out call.
Replays showed the ball dropping comfortably on the line, meaning the point had to be replayed.
Tennis legend John McEnroe was adamant in commentary that Nadal had gotten away with something that is not allowed in the sport.
“This is something which shouldn’t be allowed, which is ask your box and coach whether it was in,” McEnroe said.
“They told him to challenge, he did and the ball was in.”
Many fans were also fuming, insisting the incident amounted to Nadal getting coaching – something Serena Williams was infamously accused of in the US Open final.
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To add insult to injury for De Minaur, the Spaniard not only went on to hold serve but he raced away with the first set after the incident.
The second seed was in ruthless touch, barely giving the Aussie another sniff as he waltzed through the opener 6-1.
De Minaur managed to get one more game off the 17-time grand slam champion in the second set but Nadal was in ruthless touch.
The Spaniard fought off a spirited challenge from the 19-year-old Aussie, who saved five match points in the third set.
However, it was the 32-year-old that ultimately booked his passage through to the fourth round with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory.