As the weather hots up Down Under, so does the play on the court. One teenage surprise is out, most of the favorites are through and one player has made the wrong kind of history.The men’s world No.1, Rafa Nadal, continued his fine form on Friday, easing past Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to book a fourth-round spot at the Australian Open.
Nadal, a losing finalist to Roger Federer last year in Melbourne, needed just one hour and 50 minutes to dispatch his opponent, conceding only 18 unforced errors and dropping his service just once.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion will face Argentina’s 24th seed Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s fourth round.
The local crowd were spurred on by the hope that they might see a first Australian male singles winner of the tournament in 42 years when Nick Kyrgios beat 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).
Trailing 5-2 in the tiebreaker, Kyrgios went on a roll as Tsonga appeared to struggle with a knee issue.
Fifteen-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk’s remarkable run came to an end after Elina Svitolina beat her 6-2, 6-2. Kostyuk was in tears immediately after the defeat, but soon delivered a comment of maturity and humor beyond her years.
“How much (do) you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson – I got it for free,” Kostyuk joked. “I learned that I can play against everyone… But she’s a god, I cannot do anything against her, that’s the problem.”
In her previous match,Kostyuk had become the youngest Australian Open second-round winner since Martina Hingis in 1996.
Briton Kyle Edmund was congratulated on social media by Andy Murray after beating Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 in a match that lasted more than three and a half hours.
World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov also advanced, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Tournament organizers revealed that American CoCo Vandeweghe was fined $10,000 (€8,160) for shouting an obscenity at her opponent in the first round.
Extreme heat has caused troubling levels of exhaustion and heat stress for the players at the Australian Open, but more concerningly for the people in the state of Victoria, Australia where several people have died to the sweltering conditions.
jh/pfd (dpa, Reuters, AP)