Rafael Nadal wary of Diego Schwartzman threat, Jelena Ostapenko sent packing in Melbourne third round

Sport360 staff 19:43 19/01/2018
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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 Anett 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. He next faces 24th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarter-finals.

“He’s a great player. He’s a player that last year had an amazing year, and this year start again playing so well,” Nadal said of Schwartzman. “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.”

No. 3 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°C.

He will next face Australian Nick Kyrgios who beat French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four close and entertaining sets in a prime-time evening 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.

Caroline Wozniacki 1

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

Wozniacki had fought back from the brink in the previous round, rallying from 1-5 down in the final set against Jana Fett, and saving two match points along the way.

“I was close to being out. Yesterday was a nice day, still feeling like I’m still alive, I still have an opportunity. Today I walked out and I thought I started better in my match, started playing a little better,” said the ex-world No. 1.

“She played well today, served well. Yeah, I’m just happy to be through.”

Wozniacki had the benefit of playing the night match on Friday, avoiding the brutal heat conditions that struck the tournament for the past two days.

The Dane watched the second round between Gael Monfils and Novak Djokovic on Thursday, in which the Frenchman looked like he was going to collapse on the court from the extreme temperatures.

“I thought it was a shame that the roof wasn’t on because I think that could have been a really high-quality match. All of a sudden, you know, Monfils was basically passing out in the heat. You could really see both of them struggling,” said Wozniacki.

“I think that could have been an incredible tennis match, but it was hampered a bit by the heat. It is what it is. I don’t really know exactly the rules of when it gets too hot, but I thought yesterday was brutal.”

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