1/19/2018 5:19:26 PM

Nadal ominous as Dimitrov gets back on track

Nadal ominous as Dimitrov gets back on track

Melbourne, Australia: Rafael Nadal stormed into the round of 16 at the Australian Open Friday with a vintage performance as Grigor Dimitrov and Caroline Wozniacki kept their Grand Slam hopes alive on a hot draining day.

But French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko's tournament is over, with the Latvian seventh seed crashing out in three sets to Estonian Annet Kontaveit.

Spanish world number one Nadal showed no mercy to 28th seed Damir Dzumhur on Margaret Court Arena, as he rediscovers his best form after ankle trouble.

The top seed raced through the match in just 1hr 50min, wasting as little energy as possible in the 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 rout.

"I was very, very focused," Nadal said. "I'm very happy with everything and to have another chance on Sunday."

That chance will be against 24th seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Dimitrov, who could meet Nadal in the semis, had plenty to prove after a huge second-round fright from a qualifier, who pushed him to five sets.

And the Bulgarian delivered in a testing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian rising star Andrey Rublev as temperatures touched 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

"These are the most important matches for me, when things are not working for me and I find a way," he said. "I'm feeling good physically, the heat didn't scare me at all today, so that's a good sign."

He will next face Australian Nick Kyrgios who beat French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) in 3hr 17min in a spectacular night match on Rod Laver Arena.

"It was amazing. I've never won a match on this court before but playing Jo I was obviously very nervous," said the 17th seeded local hope.

Second seed Wozniacki has not impressed so far, but she put in a better performance to beat Dutch 30th seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3, finally getting over the line on her fourth match point.

It sets her up with a clash against 19th-seeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic also reached the last 16, for the first time in seven years, with a straight-set win over Ryan Harrison.

The Croatian sixth seed was too strong for the 45th-ranked American, winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in 2hr 29min in a night match on Hisense Arena.

Cilic, last year's beaten Wimbledon finalist, will face Spanish 19th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in Sunday's fourth round.

Seppi outlasts Karlovic

Meanwhile, Italian Andreas Seppi edged out Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in a titanic five-set battle of the veterans to claim a place in the round of 16.

Seppi, ranked 76, fought off the 89th-ranked Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 6-7 (5/7), 9-7 in 3hr 51min on Hisense Arena.

The Italian, 33, reached the fourth round for the second consecutive year where he will now face Britain’s Kyle Edmund on Sunday.

Edmund came through a gruelling physical test to reach the round of 16 for the first time at the Australian Open, admitting the match took a lot out of him.

The 49th-ranked Edmund fought back, taking the last two sets in blistering heat to win 7-6 (7/0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 in 3hr 34min on Show Court Two against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“It’s really hard to put if it’s the best win or not. For sure, the physical test was a great win for me,” Edmund said.

“Best-of-five sets in that kind of heat, really good for my career and my confidence going forward, for sure.

“Physically and mentally that type of match takes a lot out of you. Just to keep fighting and chipping away. The heat zaps the energy out of you.”

Suarez Navarro rallies past Kanepi

Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro powered from a set down against Kaia Kanepi to advance to the last 16 with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory.

The world number 39 dropped the first set in 38 minutes against her experienced opponent who is 40 places below her in the world rankings.

But she took the match by the scruff of the neck in racing through the second set in 26 minutes against the 32-year-old Estonian who was making her maiden third-round appearance at Melbourne Park.

The third set was a tighter affair but Suarez Navarro always looked in control from the back of the court as she closed out the match in an hour and 43 minutes.

Share this: