It was an eventful day at the Australian Open both on and off the court, mud, for instance delayed the start of play by some four hours, the result of a deluge of ‘dirty rain’ falling on the courts overnight!
I think I can do lot of things better. But is not because of Delbonis. I can do things better because of myself. I need to play better Rafa Nadal
And then we had the sight of a fierce Rafa Nadal shot hitting a ball girl and the Spanish icon rushing over to apologise and in so doing, kissing her on the cheek leaving the youngster blushing as he returned to go on to a 6-3 7-6(4) 6-1 victory over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis and a place in the third round.
“For her it was not a good moment, I was so scared for her, the ball was quick and straight on her,” Nadal explained after the match when he also gave her his headband as a souvenir.
“She’s a super brave girl. It has been one of the more scary moments of my career. I’m very happy she is good. She is brave. Well done.”
He added on his victory: “I think I can do lot of things better. But is not because of Delbonis. I can do things better because of myself. I need to play better.
“Especially I need to convert the break points. But that’s just something that happened today. We don’t need to put a lot of attention on this.
“Just was something that is hopefully history of just one day.”
Nick Kyrgios who is becoming a local hero thanks to his Bushfire fund raising, was cruising at two sets up when he dropped the third set and with it, his composure. However he didn’t implode and rallied past Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5.
“I definitely lost my way a little bit… but I decided to refocus,” Kyrgios said of his mini-meltdown in the third set. “I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I put it away.”
Should both Nadal and Kyrgios get through the next round they will face each other to resume hostilities following the Aussies criticism of the Spaniard last year.
Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5.
The seventh seed has acquired a new work ethic off court and it showed as he safely reached the third round.
“Definitely much better than the ATP Cup. Now in the third round, I’m very happy about that,” said the 22-year-old German.
Meanwhile fifth seed Dominic Thiem survived a fright as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt, but he did recover to win 6-2 5-7 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2.
“It was all of a sudden a really tight third set that shouldn’t happen. That’s why I was freaking out inside and also outside today,” said the two-time French Open finalist from Austria.
Despite an unfortunate nosebleed, Daniil Medvedev secured a 7-5 6-1 7-5 win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, while Gael Monfils, who injured his racket hand playing computer games before the tournament, downed Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6(8) 6-4 7-5.
Kevin Anderson, having seemingly taken control of his second round match, suffered a defeat at the hands of Taylor Fritz, the 29th seed who progressed 4-6 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-2 6-2.