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Nadal proves his fitness

Nadal proves his fitness
Image © Getty Images

In terms of upsets it was a quiet day at Melbourne with no major disasters in the menŠ—Ès draw though Rafa Nadal came close but recovered to win though in five sets. However, in the womenŠ—Ès draw, Daria Gavrilova, the last remaining Aussie in either draw, took out the 12th seeded Swiss Timea Baczinsky and Ekaterina Makarova dumped the sixth seed, Dominika Cibulkova.

Today was a great battle, I am very happy to be through


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In terms of upsets it was a quiet day at Melbourne with no major disasters in the menŠ—Ès draw though Rafa Nadal came close but recovered to win though in five sets. However, in the womenŠ—Ès draw, Daria Gavrilova, the last remaining Aussie in either draw, took out the 12th seeded Swiss Timea Baczinsky and Ekaterina Makarova dumped the sixth seed, Dominika Cibulkova.

It was Nadal who attracted most attention as one of the Big Four it was interesting to measure his opponent against one of the greats of the game. And Alexander Zvererv, one of two brothers still in contention and a player who at 19, is destined to be a grand slam champion, proved his mettle against the Spanish Bull.

The pair battled for over four hours and in the end, it was the superior fitness of Nadal which helped him across the finish line into the fourth round, 4-6 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2.

He certainly needed all his famed determination to quell the challenge of the German teenager dubbed Š—…the future of tennisŠ—È, whose more slender and taller framed suddenly started to feel the effects of a gruelling duel, especially after he won a 37-shot rally in the fifth hour of the match, the effort seemingly draining him.

In contrast the 30-year-old Nadal looked strong and full of running, then took complete control and powered his way to the win.

Describing how he had managed to pull out the win, Nadal explained: "Well, fighting, and running a lot. Everybody knows how good Alexander is. He’s the future of our sport Š—– and the present!

Š—“Today was a great battle, I am very happy to be through. It was an important result for me as IŠ—Ève lost my last couple of matches in the fifth.Š—

Nadal, who is seeded 8 for the tournament, now takes on Gael Monfils, the sixth seed who put out Philipp Kohlscreiber 6-3 7-6(1) 6-4.

Meanwhile the 117th-ranked wild-card Istomin showed no after effects following his defeat of Novak Djokovic in the previous round, two days ago. He came back and pulled off another excellent win by ousting the 30th seed, Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-2 and is now safely ensconced in the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in his career.

David Goffin brought down the Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic, best known for the number of aces he hits per match and who set a new tournament-record with an 84-game match in the first round when he hit 75 of them, lost surprisingly in straight sets to the Belgian eighth seed, 6-3 6-2 6-4. Goffin next faces Dominic Thiem of Austria who beat Benoit Paire of France 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-4

"I was ready to fight until midnight if I had to," grinned the Belgian who obviously expected a much harder battle.

And in the battle between two Spanish compatriots, Roberto Bautista Agut ousted David Ferrer 7-5 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 6-4 and will next play third seed Milos Raonic, who beat the dogged Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3.

Finally, Grigor Dimitrov, the Brisbane champion, continues his fine form by winning his eighth consecutive match in a battle of the perfect single-handed backhands, thanks to his extra speed about the court and his accuracy. He defeated Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 6-4 in a match which didnŠ—Èt get under way until midnight and finished around 2am!



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Makarova is next up for Konta

2017 Australian Open - Day 6

Image © Getty Images

In the womenŠ—Ès draw Serena Williams continues her serene way to a possible record breaking 23rd grand slam title as she swept past her fellow countrywoman Nicole Gibbs 6-1 6-3 but she might find her next opponent a bit trickier, namely Barbora Strycova who took out Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-5 while one of her possible threats was eliminated by Ekaterina Makarova who dispatched Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-7 6-3.

Williams, who not only has that grand slam record in mind, also wants to get back her No.1 status which Angelique Kerber snatched from her last year.

"Obviously, I’m here for one reason," she said. "But at the end of the day, this is all bonus for me and I look forward to playing (Strycova) Š—– IŠ—Èm ready for her."

Meanwhile Makarova goes on to face BritainŠ—Ès Jo Konta who beat her in the fourth round last year but was taken to 8-6 in the deciding set!

CroatiaŠ—Ès 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat Greece’s Maria Sakkari 3-6 6-2 6-3 to continue her excellent run in Melbourne, bearing in mind she hadnŠ—Èt previously won a match at the Australian Open since 1998.

She now takes on another unseeded player, Jennifer Brady of the US, who upset the 14th seeded Elena Vesnina 7-6 6-2.






About The Author

Henry Wancke

Henry Wancke is one of the most respected Tennis writers in the UK. Henry is the Editor of both Tennis Threads Magazine and tennisthreads.net. He previously worked as Editor of Tennis World, Serve & Volley as well as Tennis Today magazines and been stringer for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Press Association. He also co-authored the Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Tennis with John Parsons published by Carlton, and the Federation Cup – the first 32 years, published by the ITF. Currently he is the Secretary of the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association and Hon Vice President of the Tennis Industry Association UK.

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