Top
Millennium Post

Nadal dominates as Wozniacki pulls off great escape vs Fett

Melbourne: Dominant Rafael Nadal swept into the Australian Open third round to keep his Grand Slam title hunt on track, as Caroline Wozniacki pulled off a great escape to stay in contention.
The world number one Spaniard's march towards a 17th Grand Slam crown was never threatened by Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who took him to a third set tiebreak before being swatted aside 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Rod Laver Arena.
"Playing this court is always a big motivation for me," said Nadal, who lost last year's final to Roger Federer.
"He was a dangerous opponent and I'm happy to be in the third round. For my team and my family, this is our favourite tournament of the year, so I hope to stay around a bit longer," he added.
Nadal, showing no signs of the troublesome knee that bothered him late last season and interrupted his Melbourne lead-up, next plays Bosnian 28th seed Damir Dzumhur.
Surprisingly, Nadal was not the prime time men's night match on centre court, with that honour going to third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who takes on American Mackenzie McDonald later.
In contrast to Nadal's easy progress, world number two Wozniacki survived a huge scare against little-known Croat Jana Fett.
The Dane saved two match points and rallied from 5-1 down in an epic third set to keep her dream of a first Grand Slam title alive.
She looked out for the count, and was struggling afterwards to work out how she survived 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 against a player ranked 119.
"That was crazy, I don't how I got back the in the match," said Wozniacki, adding that "experience was crucial".
French Open champion and seventh seed Jelena Ostapenko also progressed, but she too needed three sets to get past China's Duan Yingying.
On a hot Melbourne day, Croatia's sixth seed Marin Cilic advanced, with last year's Wimbledon finalist easily beating Joao Sousa.
US Open semi-finalist and 10th seed Pablo Carreno-Busta also went through after French veteran Gilles Simon retired injured when trailing 6-2, 3-0.
And fighting former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saw off rising Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov in a five-set thriller.
But Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a quarter-finalist last year, became the latest seed to slump out in the women's draw, which has been shorn of leading names over the first two rounds. Seeded 15, she lost to Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.
Meanwhile, former winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fought to the bitter end to overhaul rising Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov in a five-set thriller at the Australian Open.
The 15th seeded Tsonga looked dead and buried down 2-5 in the final set before 18-year-old Shapovalov faltered in only his second five-setter and the experienced Frenchman seized the initiative.
Tsonga, 32, stormed into the third round after a 3-6, 6- 3, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win in 3hr 37min on Margaret Court Arena and will now face either Australian 17th seed Nick Kyrgios or Serbia's Viktor Troicki.
It ended his three-match losing run in five-setters, but lifted his career record to 16-10 and reversed his loss to Shapovalov in straight sets in the second round at last year's US Open.
"Since the start I was behind him. I had to fight a lot and make him finish the match. He never did, so it's good for me," Tsonga said. "But the most important (thing) for me, it's to fight, give my best on court until the last point. That's what I did. I think he deserved to win on Wednesday, but I was also courageous and I did my job at the end. I played well. I think I deserve it, too."
It extended Tsonga's record at his best-performed Australian Open Grand Slam to 36-10 after he was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the 2008 final.
Shapovalov said he would learn from the experience of losing after holding a winning position.
"There's always nerves in a tennis match. I wasn't thinking about it much," he said.
"I just didn't play a good game on my serve (for the match). Then he picked up his level. This was my longest match in the heat. Physically, I feel good. My body is getting a little bit tight on me now. Yeah, nothing too bad there. I mean, I'm just going to learn from it and keep going."
Shapovalov quickly jumped out of the blocks, breaking misfiring Tsonga in the fourth game on the way to taking the opening set in 34 minutes.
Tsonga picked up his game and levelled one-set all with a service break in the sixth game.
But the Canadian left-hander hit back, taking the third set with some sensational shot-making, including a running backhand winner on break point and then breaking again in the sixth game.
Tsonga stayed alive and took the match into a fifth set decider with a resolute tiebreaker.
Shapovalov began the final set strongly, breaking Tsonga in the second game and then holding off break points in the following game to lead 3-0.
But Tsonga would not yield and broke Shapovalov as he attempted to serve out the match with a cross court backhand.
Shapovalov began to falter and made mistakes as Tsonga stepped up the pressure and broke the young Canadian again in the 11th game to hit the front 6-5. He didn't need a second chance as he served out strongly for the match.
Next Story
Share it