Rafael Nadal, 31, seeks only his second Aussie triumph. The Melbourne-based Major is the place Nadal had little success in the past. He won it once back in 2009 after an epic final that left that year's runner-up Roger Federer drowning in a lake of tears. But, the Swiss had his revenge last year when topped the Spaniard in a five-set thriller that is widely regarded as one of the best matches of the season.

For 2018, Nadal seems to have traveled back in time. His clothes are a reminder of the mid-2000s, especially those sleeveless T-shirts. Wearing those, Nadal gives the audience a chance to contemplate those Adonis-type muscles.

The Spanish matador seems to have gotten past that knee injury that hampered his efforts in the closing stages of 2017.

Rafael Nadal is into the third round

Leading the upper half of the men's draw, Nadal made no mistakes in the first two rounds. He is now one match away from reaching the second week in Melbourne, and what's even more important, he hasn't dropped a set yet. Moreover, his game looks sharp with so little room for any potential errors.

The round of 128 saw last year's runner-up breezing past Victor Estrella (79 ATP). Nadal conceded only three games, each for one set. A similar piece of play took place in the next round as another South American player unsuccessfully tried his luck.

Leonardo Mayer (52 ATP) was looking for a first-time third-round appearance in Melbourne but he had little success. Nadal dismantled him piece by piece to secure another comfortable three-sets win.

Nadal has set a clash with Damir Dzumhur, a Bosnian player who is having some of his finest days as a professional player as he received seeded status for the first time at a Grand Slam.

Dzumhur won their only previous meeting back at the 2016 Indian Wells as he benefited from Nadal's withdrawal due to intense heat.

There is a clear path toward the higher stages

Nadal has had a bit of a luck regarding the draw. His part of the board lacks any serious danger. Therefore, he has great hopes of going all the way at Melbourne Park.

If he gets past Dzumhur, he will face either Diego Schwartzman or Alexandr Dolgopolov. He shares the draw with Marin Cilic who may emerge for an interesting quarterfinals matchup. The semis may bring Kyrgios, Dimitrov, Tsonga or Rublev while the biggest test for Nadal might come only in the final. Djokovic, Federer, del Potro or Wawrinka are sharing a jam-packed bottom half of the draw.

If Rafal Nadal wins the Aussie Open, the next Grand Slam will set some interesting debates. 2018 French Open may witness Nadal reducing the gap between him and Federer to a sole Major title.