World number one Nadal swept into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Photo: Mark Cristino/BackpagePix

MELBOURNE – Dominant Rafael Nadal swept into the Australian Open third round to keep his Grand Slam title hunt on track Wednesday.

The world number one Spaniard's march towards a 17th Grand Slam crown was never threatened by Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who took him to a third set tiebreak before being swatted aside 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Rod Laver Arena.

“Playing this court is always a big motivation for me,” said Nadal, who lost last year's final to Roger Federer. He was a dangerous opponent and I'm happy to be in the third round.

“For my team and my family, this is our favourite tournament of the year, so I hope to stay around a bit longer,” he added.

Nadal, showing no signs of the troublesome knee that bothered him late last season and interrupted his Melbourne lead-up, next plays Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.

Surprisingly, Nadal was not the prime time men's night match on centre court, with that honour going to third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who takes on American Mackenzie McDonald later.

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