Nadal Getting Stronger While Djokovic In Doubt At Australian Open
by Staff | February 13th, 2021, 1:58 pm
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The third round wrapped up Saturday at the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal is putting that back injury of his in the past as the 20-time Grand Slam winner look good in a 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 win over Cameron Norrie.

Nadal had his serve back to form, though was broken early in the first, and otherwise was pleased with the result and his back.

“Back was not getting better each day,” Nadal said. “Was getting better today. But today is better, yeah. First day I feel an improvement, and that’s the most important thing for me today, more than any other thing.”

After three fairly easy opponents the first week, Nadal will get his first serious test in Fabio Fognini on Monday. The Italian had no trouble with the last Australian man, Alex De Minaur in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win. Fognini has beaten Rafa four times in their 16 meetings.

“We played a lot of times, beat me a couple of times,” said Nadal. “He came here after an injury, so he will be hungry to play well. A very impressive victory today against De Minaur. I saw in straight sets, so he will come into the match with plenty of confidence. I need to keep improvement. You don’t expect an easy round in the Round of 16. It is going to be a tough one. I need to be ready for it and I hope this can happen.”

Russian No. 1 Daniil Medvedev won his first career five setter topping Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-0. Medvedev was 0-6 in 5-set at matches but blew out the Serb in the final set to raise his win streak to 17.

“I remember many of these five-set matches,” Medvedev said. “I think three or four of them I would be a break up or something like this. I always say experience is key for me, so in this fifth set I felt like of course it was tight, but as soon as I got the break, I was under control.

“In contrast with the previous matches where I could get tight, start to rush things, to make some errors. Here I was, really calm to finish the match and I’m really happy that I got my first five-set win.”

Medvedev now meets American upstart Mackenzie McDonald who enjoyed a good draw defeating No. 92 in the world Lloyd Harris saving a set in the first set with a 7-6(7), 6-1, 6-4.

Medvedev countryman had mixed results.

Andrey Rublev kept pace with Medvedev and moved within one of a quarterfinal showdown after taking down 39-year-old Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.

He’ll now face Casper Ruud who moved into his first Major fourth round beating Radu Albot in four sets.

With Medvedev, Rublev and Aslan Karatsev in the final 16, Karen Khachanov couldn’t make it a quartet. Matteo Berrettini withstood the Russian and a late third set ab injury to win in three tiebreaks.

”I don’t know what happened,” said Berrettini said of the injury. “I felt under my rib. The physio said nothing had pulled. Maybe it was just a muscle that was not working properly. I was really feeling it when I was serving and then my mindset went a little bit away because I was thinking that I was two sets up. I was playing good and I was feeling the momentum and then, all of a sudden, I felt this. I am really glad that I could win the third set.”

The Italian now has a date with Stefanos Tsitsipas who hammered his good friend Michael Ymer 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

On Sunday, all eyes will be on Novak Djokovic whose injured oblique might prevent him from playing his fourth round match against Milos Raonic.

Djokovic reportedly did not practice Saturday and instead had to get a scan on the injury.

Dominic Thiem is back against Grigor Dimitrov. Alexander Zverev is in action against Dusan Lajovic and Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Karatsev.

SUNDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena – 11:00 AM
MUGURUZA, Garbine (ESP) [14] vs. OSAKA, Naomi (JPN) [3]
Not before: 1:00 PM
SABALENKA, Aryna (BLR) [7] vs. WILLIAMS, Serena (USA) [10]
Not before: 3:00 PM
THIEM, Dominic (AUT) [3] vs. DIMITROV, Grigor (BUL) [18]
7:00 PM
1. WS408 SWIATEK, Iga (POL) [15] vs. HALEP, Simona (ROU) [2]
2. MS401 DJOKOVIC, Novak (SRB) [1] vs. RAONIC, Milos (CAN) [14]


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