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Rediff.com  » Sports » Aus Open PHOTOS: Nadal, Kyrgios advance; Dimitrov and Wozniacki survive

Aus Open PHOTOS: Nadal, Kyrgios advance; Dimitrov and Wozniacki survive

Last updated on: January 17, 2018 19:52 IST

Images from the Australian Open matches in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Spain's Rafael Nadal is ecstatic after winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal is ecstatic after winning his match against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Top seed Rafael Nadal continued his marauding path through the Australian Open, hammering Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to reach the third round on Wednesday.

 

Channelling his early years with a sleeveless shirt, the muscular Mallorcan threw Mayer like a rag-doll around the Rod Laver Arena court for two hours and 38 minutes, pounding the world number 52 with a barrage of top-spin bombs.

A masterful performance was blighted only by a late wobble, when Nadal was broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the decider.

But the Spaniard found an extra gear in the tiebreak, wrapping up the match with a monster serve to the corner that Mayer battled to get a racket to.

Nadal's bid for a 17th Grand Slam title continues against Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.

Dimitrov survives scare

Grigor Dimitrov

IMAGE: Grigor Dimitrov celebrates winning his second round match. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov suffered a huge scare against 186th-ranked qualifier Mackenzie McDonald before holding his nerve in a tension-charged deciding set to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-,4 0-6, 8-6 and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

Bulgarian Dimitrov, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, fell in a huge hole in the fourth set against the free-swinging American, whose shot-making and composure made a mockery of his humble ranking.

Dimitrov had to wait and hope for McDonald to falter under the lights at Rod Laver Arena, and finally the American did with a double-fault that gave up match point.

Dimitrov held on until McDonald slammed a forehand into the net putting his opponent into a third round clash with Russian 30th seed Andrey Rublev.

Kyrgios keeps cool to fly into third round

Nick Kyrgios

IMAGE: Nick Kyrgios in action during his second round match. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Australian Nick Kyrgios's new-found focus remained intact despite a night of distractions as the fiery home favourite outplayed Serbia's Viktor Troicki to reach the Australian Open third round without conceding a set.

The 17th seed dealt with a bellowing fan, a malfunctioning umpire's microphone and was distracted by a helicopter early in the second set but remained in firm control to claim an impressive 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(2) victory.

A year after the 22-year-old was jeered by home fans after surrendering a two-set lead against Italian Andreas Seppi to crash out in the second round, he produced more evidence that a run deep into the second week is possible.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, is next up for Kyrgios who is shouldering his nation's hopes of a first home men's champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

The 31-year-old Troicki provided a useful gauge of Kyrgios's form and fitness, but it was the Australian's relative calmness in the face of adversity that stood out.

He was already a set in front when a fan decided to make a name for himself by standing up in the front row in the Hisense Arena and began bellowing while filming himself.

Then a couple of games later a red helicopter hovered above the court, drowning out the sound of the ball being struck.

There was plenty of chuntering from Kyrgios but apart from "freaking out" after a late lapse when he dropped serve at 5-4 in the third, he stuck diligently to his task.

"I think obviously it's pretty easy to think, 'Why me?'" Kyrgios said of the odd incidents. "The guy in the crowd was crazy. I didn't really know what was going on.

"The helicopter, that's when I was thinking like, of course, it's at my match. It's just hovering there. Of course, it is."

"Hearing the ball actually come off the racket is a pretty big thing. I missed four returns. I'm blaming the helicopter."

Tsonga tames Shapovalov

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov

IMAGE: France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga required all his years of experience to tame Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The 32-year-old former runner-up was staring at a second successive Grand Slam defeat to the 18-year-old tyro when he trailed 5-2 in the decider but as Shapovalov's youth betrayed him for the first time, Tsonga roared back to rattle off the last four games for a 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 victory.

"I'm tired but really happy," the popular Frenchman, who has been troubled by a calf injury in the build-up to the tournament, said on Margaret Court Arena.

"I did a big fight today. It's not easy to play the young guns, they play great and go for everything so it's difficult to defend. I suffered physically but I continued to fight."

Melbourne debutant Shapovalov, who won in straight sets in their US Open second round clash, crunched 60 winners throughout the three hour 37 minute firefight in soaring temperatures, but ultimately fell just short.

The straggly-haired world number 50's explosive shot-making helped him take the opener in style after breaking the 15th seed's serve in the fourth game of the match.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is congratulated by chats Denis Shapovalov after his victory 

IMAGE: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is congratulated by chats Denis Shapovalov after his victory. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Tsonga, popular Down Under after his final appearance against Novak Djokovic 10 years ago, found some extra zip on his shots to level the match but the fearless Shapovalov continued to let rip at every opportunity to race through the third set in 26 minutes.

It was tight in the fourth as 32-year-old former world number five Tsonga used all his experience and physical presence to stay ahead on serve and take the teenager into a tiebreak which he dominated to win 7-4.

Shapovalov had only gone to a fifth set once before but broke in the second game and even had a chance to make it 4-0.

Tsonga dug in though and it was Shapovalov who crumbled when serving for the match at 5-3, misfiring two backhands and double-faulting to allow Tsonga to break.

The momentum was now with the older man and he played three faultless games to claim a 16th five-set victory and set up a possible clash with home favourite Nick Kyrgios who was due to play his second round later.

Second seed Wozniacki fights back from the brink

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki celebrates on beating Croatia's Jana Fett

IMAGE: Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki celebrates on beating Croatia's Jana Fett. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki saved two match points as she battled back from 5-1 down in the deciding set to beat MelbournePark debutante Jana Fett 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Former World No 1 Wozniacki was simply outplayed by the 21-year-old Croatian for large parts of the match but won six straight games to avert the upset and claim her place in the third round.

"That was crazy, I don't know how I got back into the match," said a relieved Wozniacki.

"She's a tricky opponent, she had nothing to lose, and I think she realised she was at 5-1 and she let off the speed a little bit.

"I thought, 'this is my last chance and I'll have to go on the attack'. Then things were going my way and I thought ' this is my chance'."

Fett, ranked 119th in the world, played some brilliant shots throughout the contest and rattled off eight straight points to win the opening set in 33 minutes.

Jana Fett plays a backhand in her second round match against Caroline Wozniacki

IMAGE: Jana Fett plays a backhand in her second round match against Caroline Wozniacki. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Fired by the first of two rows with umpire Richard Haigh over delayed challenges, Wozniacki worked her way back into the contest to take the second stanza when Fett hit a return long.

The Croatian refused to fade away, though, and Wozniacki threw her racket to the ground in disgust after being broken for 3-1 with Fett driving home her advantage to stand on the brink of the third round at 5-1 40-15 up.

Fett twice served for the match but nerves got the better of her and Wozniacki took full advantage to set up a third-round meeting with Belgian Kiki Bertens or American Nicole Gibbs.

The Dane looked every inch the world number two as she briskly served out for victory, which came when a crestfallen Fett dumped a backhand into the net after a shade over two and a half hours in the sun on Rod Laver Arena.

"Experience was crucial today," said Wozniacki, who is on her 11th visit to MelbournePark as she continues her quest for a maiden grand slam title.

"I've been out here so many times and I knew how she would feel being out here against me and having the chance to win." 

Karlovic oldest man in third round for 40 years

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic celebrates his win against Japan's Yuichi Sugita

IMAGE: Croatia's Ivo Karlovic celebrates his win against Japan's Yuichi Sugita. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic became the oldest man to reach the third round of the Australian Open for 40 years when he edged Japan's Yuichi Sugita in five sets in withering heat.

Karlovic, 39 next month, served down 53 aces as he came through 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in four hours 33 minutes -- the longest match in the tournament so far.

He will face Italian Andreas Seppi in round three when he will be the oldest player to contest that round since Ken Rosewall, aged 44, in 1978 when the draw was only 64.

The 2.11 metre Karlovic finally got the decisive break in the fifth set in the 21st game and held firm to complete victory with a nerveless backhand volley.

Evergreen Karlovic, ranked down at 89 in the world, also reached the third round last year when he lost to David Goffin.

Cilic eases past Sousa, Ostapenko cruises into Round 3

Croatia's Marin Cilic plays a forehand in his second round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa

IMAGE: Croatia's Marin Cilic plays a forehand in his second round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sixth seed Marin Cilic hit 40 winners, including 20 aces, on his way to a 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 second-round victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa.

Cilic will next face American Ryan Harrison, who beat Uruguay's 31st seed Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Briton Kyle Edmund, who overcame last year's US Open finalist Kevin Anderson two days ago, beat Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko fired 35 winners past China's Duan Yingying, to claim a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory in the second round.

China's Zhang Shuai playa a return against Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova

IMAGE: China's Zhang Shuai playa a return against Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Seed slayers Belinda Bencic and Zhang Shuai were brought back down to earth at the Australian Open on Wednesday as they both failed to follow up their first-round exploits.

Swiss Bencic, who knocked out last year's runner-up Venus Williams on a day of shocks on Monday, slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat by Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

Zhang, conquerer of US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, was also toppled by a qualifier in the shape of Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova, who won 6-4, 7-6(5).

Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum is congratulated by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic 

IMAGE: Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum is congratulated by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic (right). Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

With 15-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk also getting through it means three qualifiers have made the third round in the bottom half of the wide open women's draw.

Luksika, ranked 124th in the world, produced a masterful display to beat the former world number seven Bencic and reach the third round of a major for the first time having twice reached the second round of the Australian Open.

Svitolina sets up clash with 15-year-old compatriot

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina hits a shot against Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova

IMAGE: Ukraine's Elina Svitolina hits a shot against Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina came through a first set wobble to set up a third-round meeting with 15-year-old compatriot Marta Kostyuk with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Katerina Siniakova on Wednesday.

Ukrainian Svitolina was forced to fight back after conceding only her second set in seven matches this year but ultimately found a way to get past her Czech opponent as the temperatures soared on Rod Laver Arena.

"I thought I was going to melt today, it was not easy and I was struggling a bit," said the 23-year-old right-hander.

"Hopefully I can recover. I can't wait to get into an ice bath."

Svitolina will next face world number 521 Kostyuk, the qualifier who doubled down on her maiden grand slam victory on Monday with a 6-3, 7-5 win over local Olivia Rogowska.

Simon retires hurt

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta plays a return against France's Gilles Simon

IMAGE: Pablo Carreno Busta plays a return against France's Gilles Simon. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Pablo Carreno Busta, a US Open semi-finalist last year, is the first player from the men's field through to the third round after the 10th seed's opponent, Gilles Simon, winner of the Tata Maharashtra Open, retired hurt while trailing 6-2, 3-0.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian 15th seed, was knocked out by Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko in a 6-2, 6-3 second round upset on Hisense Arena.

"I am really happy, I don't really like playing first match but I guess it worked okay today," said the world number 94.

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