Rafael Nadal advanced to the Australian Open powering past Federico Delbonis in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-1 Thursday night. The Spaniard has now won his last eight in Grand Slam play and 26 of his last 28 at this level.
Nadal will have a day off before turning on Sunday to meet countryman Pablo Carreno Busta. He’s just five wins from tying Roger Federer at 20 Slam titles.
Dominic Thiem was nearly bounced out of Melbourne early by an Australian for a second straight year. Last year, it was Alexie Popyrin who stunned the Austrian in the second round. Today, unheralded Alex Bolt took advantage of a Thiem crack leading a set and 5-3. Bolt won four straight games to level then grabbed the third. But Thiem would only lose three more games as Thiem took it 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2.
Daniil Medvedev had a tough first set then pulled away from Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. Popyrin is next for the Russian.
“I managed to stay there all the match, just tried to push him all the time. That worked well today,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev’s countrymen had a good day. Karen Khachanov won an epic over Mikael Ymer 10-8 in the fifth set tiebreaker. And Andrey Rublev stayed perfect in 2020 blasting past Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(5) Rublev is now 10-0 this year. Next will be David Goffin who held off Pierre-Hugues Herbert in five sets.
Alexander Zverev kept his doubles faults at bay with a straight set win over Egor Gerasimov. Gael Monfils eliminated Ivo Karlovic. John Isner and Fernando Verdasco were also winners.
“It was definitely much better than the ATP Cup,” said Zverev who didn’t serve a double fault. “Into the third round again, so I’m very happy about that. It’s always amazing to come back to this court, to come back to Australia, I really love it here.”
Nick Kyrgios failed to close out Giles Simon in three, but he did so in four with a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over the French veteran.
“I lost my way a little bit,” Kyrgios told the crowd. “He’s a tough competitor. I could have gone to a very dark place in the 4th set, but I somehow put it away. I’m just happy to go through. It would have been very interesting if it went to a fifth set.”
Kyrgios now gets Khachanov on Saturday.
2014 Champion Stan Wawrinka was against the ropes against Andreas Seppi. The Italian led by a set and served for the second and led with a break in the fifth but Wawrinka survived in five 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
On Friday as the third round begins, Roger Federer will look to avenge a painful 2018 US Open loss to John Millman on the Aussies home turf,
Novak Djokovic faces his second straight Japanese foe in Yoshihito Nishioka and in a showdown of former semifinalists, Milos Raonic meets Stefanos Tsitsipas for a first time.
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