Ailing Nadal Escapes American Smyczek in 5 on Upset Day at Aussie Open
by Staff | January 21st, 2015, 9:07 am

It was a thriller for international and Aussie tennis fans alike on Day 3 at the Australian Open where world No. 3 Rafael Nadal and homecountry hope Bernard Tomic pulled out late five-set wins to move into the third round in Melbourne.
The No. 3-seeded Nadal suffered physically and mentally in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-5 marathon win over American Tim Smyczek. The Spaniard said that after losing the third set to go down two sets to one, he started feeling ill.

“I felt, I don’t know,” Nadal said. “At the end of the first set, I start to feel my body very bad, very tired…I was worrying crazy. Then when I was serving for the third, almost throw up…I suffered too much on court for three hours and a half. I was suffering a lot. Too much. You know, was not funny today the way that the match was. Obviously is a very positive thing that finally have the chance to win, but, yeah, I hope to recover myself.”

Nadal said he exited the match with a lot of respect for the young American, who he had not seen play in person.

“I saw him play [in] some videos,” Nadal said. “I checked some videos. I think he played well, but is true that what he did at the end of the fifth is just amazing. Congratulate…Very few players can do that after four hours, [coming back at] 5-All, Love-30. So just will say thanks to him because he’s a great example what he did today.”

Smyczek lamented his chances against the suffering Nadal.

“It was pretty clear Rafa didn’t have his best stuff,” the American said. “But it just shows the kind of player, the kind of champion he is because he was sick and not playing well. That was his ‘C’ or ‘D’ game. He found a way to win. So hats off to him. That’s why he’s one of the best.”

Tomic a few minutes later kept Aussie hopes alive by completing a late-night 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(6), 7-6(5) upset over No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

“I feel much fitter, much better movement,” Tomic said of his 2015 campaign. “I move much better on court. For me it’s helped me a lot, the surgeries I had. People think I’ve gone down with my ability, but the surgeries I’ve had are probably only a few of the surgeries that help you move better. I couldn’t move before in my hips and my lower back. Now I’ve managed to get so much more range of movement and flexibility. For me it was a benefit for me for both hips. I’m happy I did it at the age of 21. I wasn’t going to do it at the age of 25 and take 10 months to recover.”

Tomic will next meet storied unseeded Aussie countryman Sam Groth, who on Wednesday won the all-Aussie battle with another rising countryman in Thanasi Kokkinakis, outlasting the youngster 6-1 in the fifth.

“Obviously for me, the journey I’ve taken the last two years, the last 10 years, the last 20 years, it’s a pretty amazing feeling,” said the giant-serving Groth, who left tennis to pursue football, then considered becoming a fireman, then returned to the game at age 27. “I had a little lull at the start of the fourth set, I kept my emotions in check. I’m 27. I feel like I’ve matured over the last couple years…The old Sam probably would have lost the plot…I did a bit of racquet throwing. The old Sam probably would have lost that fourth set and gone home. Same thing. I fought back in the fifth set.”

Other Top 10 players joining Rafa in the third round were No. 2 Roger Federer who recovered from a first set loss and some hand issues to defeat Italian Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; No. 6 Andy Murray who eased past Aussie Marinko “Mad Dog” Matosevic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2; No. 7 Tomas Berdych with a straight-set win over Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-2; and No. 10 Grigor “Baby Fed” Dimitrov handling Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-3.

Federer summoned the trainer after the first set after apparently getting attacked by a bug. The end of a finger went numb and changed color, but the world No. 2 soldiered on.

“It’s the weirdest thing,” the Swiss said. “I don’t know. I feel it on the tip of my finger. Just felt really odd starting after the break, and for three, four games, it was the funniest feeling I have. I feel like it’s numb and swollen. So, I don’t know.”

Murray’s magic draw continues as the Brit will next meet Portugal’s Joao “Phillips” Sousa, who benefited when No. 32 Martin Klizan retired with injury in the fourth set of their match.

“I played him here a few years ago,” Murray sang of Sousa. “He’s obviously improved since then; he’s had some decent wins in Slams before. He fights hard. He has a great attitude. He doesn’t have one massive weapon, but he definitely gets the most out of his game. He’s physically in very good shape. He lasts the long matches well. He’ll make it tough for me.”

While there were no seeded upsets on the women’s side Wednesday, on the men’s side Melbourne was Upset City.

Joining Sousa and Tomic on the upset tip were Cyprus’ former Top 10er Marcos Baghdatis ousting No. 20 David Goffin 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0; young Aussie Nick Kyrgios tamed the serve of No. 23 “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic 7-6(4), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4; Serb comeback player Viktor Troicki defeated No. 26 Leo Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0; Israeli veteran Dudi “Where’s My Car?” Sela subduing No. 28 Lukas Rosol 7-6(2), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3; and Italian veteran Andreas Seppi grounding down No. 29 Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

“I’m just looking ahead one match,” said Troicki in attempting to regain his status among the Top 20. “Focusing for the next match. Playing [Tomas] Berdych I think, and he’s one of the top players. I played him a lot of times. So he’s definitely very strong. But, yeah, I will try to enjoy it. It’s another match, another opponent, and I’m going to try to give it my best and try to win.”

Kyrgios overcame his own niggling injuries in beating Dr. Ivo.

“Serving is the main thing that does trouble the back [problem],” Kyrgios said. “I knew it was going to be mentally tough as well. He has the best serve on tour I think. I think he hit 37 aces. I knew what I had to do out there to get the job done.”

Additional seeds into round three were No. 14 Kevin Anderson who subdued Lithuanian Lilliputian Ricardas Berankis in straights, and No. 24 Richard Gasquet who likewise straight-setted Aussie hope James Duckworth.

There are a number of matches to look for on Thursday in Oz in (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, American “The” Donald Young vs. (8) Milos Raonic, “I’m From” Jerzy Janowicz vs. (17) Gael “Force” Monfils, (19) John Isner vs. Andreas “Don’t Be a” Haider-Maurer, (9) David Ferrer vs. the sly Sergiy Stakhovsky, (30) Santiago Giraldo vs. American No. 2 Steve Johnson, and upset specialist Gilles Muller vs. (13) Roberto Bautista Agut.

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25 Comments for Ailing Nadal Escapes American Smyczek in 5 on Upset Day at Aussie Open

pogi Says:

making scenario, excuses, just in case he loses… same old song…

Giles Says:

Pogi. That is Joker’s stance, no? He is the drama queen time and time again. Sad really!

Nusi Says:

Christopher Rochus has something to say on 2 bathroom breaks immediately after losing sets.

Nadal’s career is definition luck and he proved it yet again. Tim was better player overall, outplayed Nadal decently and deserved to win that match. I think he definitely had soft corner for Nadal in his mind which prevented him to finish th.g in fourth ruthlessly. Clown gifted fourth set returning butcher’s weak ass 140 kph second serve with dumb slices and dumping easy returns in net. Any Aussie player with average killer instincts would have finished this in 4 leaving thug endlessly moaning about physical fitness in press conference.

jane Says:

i see kyrgios beat karlovic… interesting. i wonder how deep he’ll go. his next match is versus jaziri, and then if he makes it, next round probably fed. Says:

Love the nicknames. Dudi “Wheres My Car” Sela. haha

Purcell Says:

Nusi: what does Rochas say about bathroom breaks……?
Anyway, congrats to Bolelli for playing some pretty good stuff which forced Roger to think his way out of trouble. Congrats to Fed for not allowing the camera to interfere with ‘ fingergate’ and many congratulations and of course commiserations to ( C’mon Tim) Smyczek. What a shame that in the end he couldn’t quite pull it off. It would have been a little ray of light in the ailing American tennis scene. Nadal should temper his use of ‘suffer’ and other such hyperbole. It’s a tennis match for heavens sake. Oh and Sharapova’s determination and fighting spirit was a sight to behold today.

RZ Says:

I’ve always liked Smyczek. Guy is a fighter.

jane Says:

purcell, i believe nusi is referring to old news from last year at the australian open when rochas accused nadal of doping.

i didn’t see the match but it sounds like nadal’s ailment came on rather suddenly: “after losing the third set to go down two sets to one, he started feeling ill.” what happened? was he running to the bathroom to throw up or what?

it’s definitely the time of year for viruses, but in response to a comment by giles on another thread, this doesn’t sound like anything nole has. he was clearly very stuffed up after his match; you can hear it in his voice. he wasn’t taking bathroom breaks, etc. he just looked sapped of energy. his seems more like a cold?

anyhow hopefully all these illnesses abait. only andy seems healthy of the big four, although i am not sure what was up with fed’s finger.

Emily Says:

btw, the men’s defending champion is also playing today, not that you would know if you watch ESPN

sienna Says:

Alcatraz for Nadal.
but respect for pulling through.
Hopes for a Federer win in a fedal are building but to soon to give it a call.

queen Says:

All they can talk about is Nadal, Fed, and the Serbian guy…what’s his name? Whatever😝 Do they even remember who won last year? I guess nobody cares.

andrea Says:

congrats to nadal for grinding out that win. haven’t seen the match but sounds gruelling.

Gee Says:

He was too nice to beat nadal. Tim has amazing backhands & underrated quickness. He had twice as many winners & should’ve blasted serves to end nadal’s faking.
Nadal acted really sick & then suddenly ran like a rabbit & crushed winners when Tim got too nervous to knock nadal out.

Nadal was lucky that melzer was not the opponent.
The media loved telling us how awful Tim’s opponents were.

Too bad the overexposed andy roddick received special treatment & $15 million of endorsement for being a pathetic, idiotic, insane criminal thug.
Funny how he pretends that nadal & fed are major nice guys just because they didn’t call out his lies.
Novak’s happy being his enemy, only by watching roddick fume with hate & jealousy at the youngest legend Novak, who made fedal look ordinary so many times.

Roddick showed his true colors. he absolutely hated tennis when he said he didn’t like that nadal & fed weren’t entertaining like him.
Roddick was just looking for redeeming values in being the whiny sycophant loser to federer.

His fake criticism of the hawkeye system is similar to fed’s hatred of hawk eye.
2 years ago in Dubai, the Swiss told reporters: “What I like without Hawk-Eye is just the players challenging the umpires more often.”

Roddick’s disingenuous comments about fedal & umpires had nothing to do with him being a physically fit, good athlete & entertainer.
He already confirmed what he told tennis channel: he preferred to be a spoiled ass & toy model’s “husband”..

Bob Says:

Giles wrote: “Pogi. That is Joker’s stance, no? He is the drama queen time and time again. Sad really!”

We weren’t used to such lucidity. Congrats, Giles!

Karthick Says:

All Nadal haters, With all due respect and humbleness, “GET A LIFE”

django Says:

are there any free live streams anywhere?

jane Says:

you could try livescore hunter,, sport lemon, maybe you’ll find something django.

django Says:

thanks not finding any that work. Anyone watching now that has a link? Can’t find Novak.

Michael Says:

Rafa escaped by the skin of his teeth and certainly did not savour his moments on the court as he was struggling with cramps and stamina problems. After a long lay off, this is understandable considering that it is sometime since he played a marathon match and in these matches, you need lots of stamina if you are to pull through apart from maintaining your consistency levels. But Rafa need not be downcast by such a start in this tournament as coincidentally sometimes when he has went on to win the Championship, his earlier matches were a struggle and so the hope still remains. But it is a strange Australian open, where the top three are having physical issues. Novak struggling with his post flu effects, Roger is having blisters or was it an insect bite in the fingers and Rafa having cramps and stamina issues unable to cope up with humidity levels. Therefore, the tournament seems to be wide open and who knows we might even see a surprising result just like last time. It seems Wawarinka has still some chance to successfully defend his title. So, let us wait and watch how it unfolds but my favourite is still Rafa to win this one.

jatin Says:

Hewitt is playing awesome. Just loving this veteran.
2sets up against bekar

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Fantastic victory for Nadal. Only when he plays we get to know how much he is missed by Tennis fans. Exhilarating performance by the great champion to come back and win the match. His shots in the 5th set were bordering on miraculous tennis. Just wish him good health for the rest of the tournament. We are sure to get some of the highest quality of tennis ever.

sienna Says:

sorry to disappoint you.
Cilic is not playing AU open.

If he could have played his US Open level then an statement like you made would have some meaning because that was best level mens tennis has to offer.

Nadal is not capable of reaching that.
never was and never will be.

This level of play doesnot frighten Cilic. Ik hope he is ready for channel slams. Big contester he will be

Giles Says:

Sienna. The more you praise and keel over trying to promote Cilic the more bad luck he is having. I suggest shhhhhhhh!!

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Sienna, did u start watching tennis from USO?

sienna Says:

No NK you might not find it appealing for the eyes, but never tennis was performed at higher level then 2nd week USOpen Cilic.

I hope Giles that we see it again in a slam this year

it was tennis that will be more the standaard come 4 -5 years.
when big guys start to play and defend like elite guys are doing now.

the combo of power, speed, technici abbility turning defense in offense in the blink of an eeye
attacking and defending at level Roger Rafa would be proud. Never did a big hitter demonstrate such variaty and skills.

He is missed deeply in this slam.

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