Rafael Nadal Eases into Australian Open Fourth Round
(January 19, 2018) No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal has reached the sweet 16 at the Australia Open for the 11th time – easing past Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Margaret court Arena.
“When you win 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the third round, is always a great result, no?, Nadal said to media. “Without playing well, is impossible to have these kind of results. So happy for that. Happy to be through, yeah, fourth round. Already is good news”
There has been controversy about court assignments for night matches. Asked about this the Spanish 16-time major winner said:” You know the same like me why there is player that play the night and others play the day. There is television, there is tickets to sell, there is players that achieve more than others. That’s why some players plays in prime time and other ones don’t play in the prime time.
“That’s easy to understand. It’s not about fair or not fair.”
Nadal will take Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarterfinals. The Argentine defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
“He’s a great player,” said Nadal. “He’s a player that last year had an amazing year, and this year start again playing so well. So already won three matches here, playing again at very high level. He’s a very complete player.
“Being honest, he’s a player that if I don’t play my best, probably I don’t going to win. He’s a player that have all the shots, big control from the baseline, don’t miss much. He’s able to change directions easy. He’s a player that already played the quarterfinals in the US Open. He’s already in the fourth round.
“Tough one, and I need to play my best.”
French Open champion and No. 7 seed Jelena Ostapenko is out of the Australian Open. In a battle between women from Baltic countries, the Latvian lost to Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the 32nd seed 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. With Ostapenko’s loss, it means only two major champions are left in the women’s draw – and they square off on Saturday – Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova.
In the popcorn match of the day, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios defeated one of his tennis idols growing up – 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the night session in Rod Laver Arena 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5). Tsonga was ahead 5-2 in the fourth set tiebreak, 17th seed Kyrgios won the last five straight points to close out the match.
“I had never won a match on this court coming here,” the Australian said on court. “Playing Jo, I was obviously very nervous. He was a guy I looked up to as kid. I still do. He’s great guy, a great champion.”
“It’s great,” Tsonga said in regard to Kyrgios idolizing him. “For me personally, it’s grateful for me, I think. It means that I touch some guys when they were young, and they want to become player like me. I inspire some of them.”
“I played good tennis,” Tsonga said. “But I didn’t do a good match because on the big moments, I was not there. I didn’t play good tennis on the big point. That’s what I need to go to the next level, is to be more consistent on the big moment.”
“He’s a tough opponent,” said Kyrgios. “He’s beaten pretty much all the top guys in the world. I knew it was going to be an incredibly tough match. I was very nervous going out there today.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously 5-2 down in the fourth set breaker, I was kind of getting ready for a fifth set mentally. I somehow just hung in and got a couple looks. I mean, it was surreal out there today, that win.”
Kyrgios will play third seed Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in the elite eight. The Bulgarian knocked out Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Dimitrov was coming off a five-set struggle past qualifier Mackenzie McDonald.
“Obviously today was another tough test for me,” Dimitrov said. “I just had to find a way again, simple as that. At least the game was a little bit better than the previous match.
“I’m not going to give any excuses right now. It was just not a good day for me serving-wise. I tried to change the way I was tossing the ball or serving throughout the whole match, but just didn’t work. Just didn’t work.
“I have to accept it and move on. 15, 16 double-faults, that’s absolutely unacceptable. So, yeah, hopefully I serve better next round.”
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On the hottest day of the tournament so far, with temperatures reaching 40.3 C (104.5 F), Britain’s Kyle Edmund needed three hours and 34 minutes to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.
“I got a bit burned on Monday,” Edmund said on court. “I didn’t put enough sunscreen on then. It’s my neck that gets it the worst. Because of my pale skin, I have to take responsibility. My mum gives me a lecture if I don’t.”
“This one today was very tough, he said. “Probably hottest conditions I played in for that sort of period of time. I mean, I don’t know the temperatures, but obviously on paper they were saying it was pretty much 40 degrees today.
“Yeah, just really happy to come through and, you know, mentally it’s a really good win, that sort of match.”
Other men advancing to the round of 16 were No. 6 seed Marin Cilic, 10 seed Carreno Busta, and Andreas Seppi.
Caroline Wozniacki is into the Australian Open fourth round beating Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3. The Dane
No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina has ended the run for 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk. In a contest between Ukrainian women, Svitolina send her opponent off the court in less than an hour 6-2, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.
“It’s very very special for me. I always love coming to the Australian Open, but I never went further than the third round,” said Svitolina in her on court interview.
“It was sad that I was playing against Ukrainian girl. From the same country, it’s always tough to play, but I’m happy that I’m still alive in this tournament.”
Kostyuk, ranked 521st, who came in to the tournament as a qualifier became the youngest since 1996 to win a main draw match at the Australian Open when she beat 25th seed Peng Shuai in the first round.
Kostyuk gained a spot into qualifying because she won last year’s junior title at the Australian Open.
Asked about what she took from her experience on Friday she said: “How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson, so I got it for free.”
Svitolina will take on qualifier Denisa Allertova next, who beat Magda Linette 6-1, 6-4.
Patra Martic celebrated her 27th birthday by beating Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkum 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to make the fourth round. She will play Elise Mertens who defeated Alize Cornet.
More to follow…..