Kyrgios into Nadal grudge match as shocks rattle Australian Open


Kyrgios into Nadal grudge match as shocks rattle Australian Open

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Home favourite Nick Kyrgios went five sets to ensure an Australian Open showdown with Rafael Nadal yesterday, as a series of shocks caused carnage in the women's draw.

Kyrgios survived the longest match of his career to beat Russia's Karen Khachanov 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/8), collapsing on his back after the fifth-set tiebreaker.

The outspoken Aussie now heads into a last-16 clash with Nadal, with whom he has history after calling him “super salty” following criticism from the Spaniard last year.

Top seed Nadal had a comparatively easy ride against his Davis Cup teammate Pablo Carreno Busta, racing through 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in what he called his “best match of the tournament so far”.

While the men's “Big Three” of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are all still alive, it's a different story in the women's competition where six of the top 10 seeds crashed out in the third round.

After Serena Williams and title-holder Naomi Osaka fell by the wayside on Friday, second seed Karolina Pliskova bombed on Saturday with a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, the sixth seed, Won only one game against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, the world number 31, as she went down 6-0, 6-1.

And a resurgent Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Major-winner, thrashed fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-2. Tenth seed Madison Keys lost to Maria Sakkari on Friday.

Croatian 19th seed Donna Vekic also crumbled to lower-ranked opposition when she lost 7-5, 6-3 to Poland's Iga Swiatek, who is returning from a stress fracture in her foot.

However, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stayed on course with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

The Romanian fourth seed will now play Belgium's Elise Mertens, who won in three sets against CiCi Bellis — ending the American's Grand Slam return from long-term injury.

Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 to set up a meeting with Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian 30th seed.

Elsewhere, Germany's Alexander Zverev dismissed Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last-16 clash with Russia's Andrey Rublev, who remained unbeaten this year with his 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over David Goffin.

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem came through 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 against Taylor Fritz; Gael Monfils beat Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-3; and Stanislas Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, progressed when John Isner retired in the second set.

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