1148 GMT February 19, 2018
The Spanish superstar tore past No. 28 seed Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia & Herzegovina 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Margaret Court Arena to reach the fourth round of Australian Open for the 11th time, atpworldtour.com reported.
“I’m happy to be through to the fourth round,” said Nadal. “I needed hours of court, hours of playing sets with different players. That's what I did. I think I had a good preparation here. I felt myself playing well. Here I am in the fourth round – that's because I am doing the right things. Let's see how far I can go.”
The 2009 champion – and a four-time finalist overall – competed with real intent in the 550th hard-court match of his career (424-126), striking 28 winners and converting seven of his 16 break point opportunities.
The 31-year-old will next face Argentine No. 24 seed Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round. He is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era (since 1968) and only the third in history – after Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver – to win each of the four Grand Slam championship trophies.
“He's a great player,” said Nadal. “He's a player that last year had an amazing year, and this year start again playing so well. So already won three matches here, playing again at very high level. He's a very complete player. He's a player that if I don't play my best, I’m probably not going to win.”
The diminutive Argentine regrouped from losing the first set to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes.
‘Find a way’
You don't have to play your best at a Grand Slam to advance; you just have to play better than the person across the net.
And for the second consecutive match, Grigor Dimitrov, without the finest version of his world-class game, found a way to move on at the Australian Open and keep his maiden Grand Slam title hopes alive.
The third seed persisted past Russian Andrey Rublev on Friday on Rod Laver Arena 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round in Melbourne. Dimitrov will next face 17th seed Nick Kyrgios, who beat 2008 finalist and French 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday night.
“These are the most important matches for me, when things are not working and I'm able to find a way. That's just it,” Dimitrov said after the match. “I'm just pleased that I won the match.”
It's the fourth consecutive time Dimitrov has made the Round of 16 Down Under, and he had to labor for it against the 30th-seeded Rublev, who had beaten Dimitrov during their only prior meeting, in the second round of the 2017 US Open.
“Obviously today was another tough test for me,” said Dimitrov.
“I just had to find a way again, simple as that. At least the game was a little bit better than the previous match [versus MacKenzie McDonald]. It was warm. The conditions really suited me. I was happy that everything went my way.
“I think my mentality is very different right now than, I mean, four, five years ago. I know how to manage my body a little bit more, my shots, the way I'm on the changeovers and everything. I think all that comes into play."