Round three at the Australian Open begins with a blockbuster Friday and the thermometer soars and the seeds finally clash.
Headling are two very intriguing men’s matches. During the day Grigor Dimitrov gets a rematch of his US Open conqueror in Andrey Rublev. Then at night, Nick Kyrgios collides with former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“I liked his aggressive style of tennis,” Kyrgios said of Tsonga. “He had a big serve, big forehand. He played an entertaining style tennis. When I was 12, I went to all his practice sessions. He made the final in 2008. I think I was 12. I went to all his practice sessions with a new ball. He signed it every day. I don’t know if he remembers. I didn’t miss one of his practice sessions.”
In his 550th career hard court match, Rafael Nadal returns under the lights to test Damir Dzumhur who beat the Spaniard via retirement at 2016 Miami. And US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta tries to keep his Slam hard court run going against the attacking lefty Gilles Muller.
After his marathon 12-10, 53-ace win over Yuichi Sugita, Ivo Karlovic will take on Italian veteran Andreas Seppi who’s had his share of big wins in Melbourne. A month shy of 39, Karlovic is trying to become the oldest Grand Slam fourth rounder since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.
Marin Cilic also faces American Ryan Harrison.
For the women, the ailing Elina Svitolina matches up with 15-year-old Ukranian phenom Marta Kostyuk. In a comeback win Wednesday, Svitolina revealed she had been battling some sort of illness. Can the teen capitalize and take down the tournament favorite?
“She has nothing to lose, so that’s why I know she goes just for everything,” Svitolina said of her countrywoman. “You know, like a little bit like headless chicken.
“I will try to prepare and, yeah, be ready for her game. For me it’s very important for me to be there with my game and don’t really think who is in the other, who’s in the other side.”
Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko continue on, but with all the upsets in the women’s bottom half, opportunity abounds for many of the women, like Luksika Kumkhum, Petra Martic, Magda Linette and Denisa Allertova.
FRIDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena
L. Kumkhum v P. Martic
M. Kostyuk v E. Svitolina (4)
G. Dimitrov (3) v A. Rublev (30)
N. Kyrgios (17) v J. Tsonga (15)
K. Bertens (30) v C. Wozniacki (2)
Margaret Court Arena
D. Allertova v M. Linette
P. Carreno Busta (10) v G. Muller (23)
K. Bondarenko v M. Rybarikova (19)
R. Nadal (1) v D. Dzumhur (28)
J. Ostapenko (7) v A. Kontaveit (32)
B. Bryan/M. Bryan (6) v M. Mirnyi/P. Oswald
E. Mertens v A. Cornet
A. Seppi v I. Karlovic
R. Harrison v M. Cilic (6)
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