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Nadal coasts into second week of Australian Open

Bill Scott, DPA on

Published in Tennis

MELBOURNE -- Rafael Nadal benefitted from the cooling down of a stifling two-day heatwave that drove temperatures from 104 degrees down to a tolerable 82 as he advanced into the second week of the Australian Open on Friday.

The top seed and former tournament winner produced a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 victory against Damir Dzumhur. The win put Nadal, 31, into the Melbourne fourth round for an 11th time.

Nadal next faces Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

"There have been very, very tough conditions yesterday and today," Nadal said. "Sometimes (it) is too much and can become little bit dangerous for health.

"But there is one positive thing: no humidity. It was dry -- that makes a big difference."

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov rewarded himself with a post-victory ice bath after advancing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Russian Andrey Rublev.

The Bulgarian winner of the 2017 year-ending championships came to Melbourne off a Brisbane semifinal, and he beat a pair of qualifiers in the first two rounds before facing a tougher test against Rublev.

"Today was another tough test for me," Dimitrov said. "I just had to find a way again, simple as that. At least the game was a little bit better than the previous match.

"It was warm. The conditions really suited me. I was happy that everything went my way."

Dimitrov won his 19th match in Melbourne, the most for a Bulgarian at the event.

Marin Cilic, seeded sixth, put out American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Aussie Nick Kyrgios lived up to potential with a defeat of 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5).

Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta advanced past Gilles Muller 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the heat of the day.

Briton Kyle Edmund reached the fourth round for the first time. Edmund spent just over three and a half hours in defeating Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.

The Bahamas-based Brit, who trains at a facility affiliated with Lleyton Hewitt, broke through with 70 winners and 20 aces.

 

A 17th double-fault from Basilashvili gave Edmund a match point, which he converted as his opponent drove a return into the net.

"Mostly, I'm a bit tired, but it was really good to win a match like that in tough conditions," Edmund said. "It was another five-set win for me, which is good."

Edmund, who broke seven times from 27 chances, duplicated his best Grand Slam showing after also reaching the fourth round at the 2016 US Open.

In the women's draw, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ended the dream run of 15-year-old fellow Ukrainian qualifier Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-2 -- with the poised youngster assured of a bright future in the sport.

"How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson -- I got it for free," Kostyuk joked. "I learned that I can play against everyone.

"But she's a god. I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem."

Croatian Petra Martic put out Lusika Kumkhum 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 two days after the Thai qualifier eliminated Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Czech Denise Allertova beat Magda Linette of Poland 6-1, 6-4. Belgian Els Mertens converted on a fourth match point to edge France's Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-4 and reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

Cornet was treated for heat illness stretched out on the court, with ice bags failing to arrive on time when requested by the trainer.

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