Murray, Nadal, Azarenka win late matches at Australian Open

Saturday, January 18, 2014 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Top-seeded Rafael Nadal looked as if he was in a hurry to get out for a late dinner Saturday while posting a straight-sets victory in a featured night match at the Australian Open.

Nadal continued his dominance of Gael Monfils, beating the Frenchman for the 10th time in 12 matches in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win in just more than two hours to advance to a fourth-round match against No. 16 Kei Nishikori.

Earlier, three-time finalist Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the sixth straight year with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 26-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

Murray, playing only his second tournament since minor back surgery in September, was broken only once in a 2-hour, 15-minute match.

"It's been a good start," Murray said. "It was very tricky the first couple of matches with the heat, but today was beautiful to play in."

Fourth-seeded Murray, who broke some Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon last year, is still aiming for his first Australian title. He has lost in the finals at Melbourne Park in three of the past four years.

He next faces Stephane Robert, a lucky loser from qualifying who made the main draw after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew with an injury on the second morning of the tournament. No. 119-ranked Robert beat fellow lucky loser Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-0, 7-6(2), 6-4 on Saturday and is into the fourth round for the first time.

It is the first time a lucky loser has advanced this far at the tournament.

Murray was impressed by Robert's achievement.

"He's obviously 33 years old. Could be easy to stop playing, if you're not in the top hundred or necessarily making a great living," he said. "But it does show if you stick at it, you're professional, when your chance comes, you take it, you can do great things."

Four-time champion Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year following a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win Saturday over Teymuraz Gabashvili.

He is seeded sixth at this Australian Open, his lowest seeding in more than a decade, after a year in which he didn't reach a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002. His wife, Mirka, and their twin daughters were in the arena watching against Gabashvili. The couple is expecting another child later in the year, something Federer sees as a good omen.

"The last time (Mirka) was pregnant, I played fairly well, won the French and Wimbledon," he said in reference to 2009. "So lots of pressure there."

Federer was back in familiar territory Saturday at Rod Laver Arena. On Thursday, he won his second-round match at the secondary Hisense Arena, the first time in a decade that Federer was not given prime billing at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver, where he had played his previous 63 consecutive Australian Open matches.

Federer will next meet 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in a night match.

Last year, Federer beat Tsonga in the quarterfinals here.

"For me it's going to be the possibility to have revenge," Tsonga said.

Grigor Dimitrov progressed to the second week at a major for the first time when he converted his fifth match point to beat No. 11-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10).

The 22-year-old Bulgarian is considered one of the up-and-coming players on the men's tour, as is Raonic. At the end of the match, the two hugged like old friends at the net.

"I think it's a great stepping stone for me to get into that second week," Dimitrov said. "But I have practiced a lot. I have done a lot of homework. So, to me, in a way it's a bit expected."

He sometimes has been referred to as the mini Federer, due to their similar styles and single-handed backhands. Even Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, told a news conference after his win that everyone in the locker room was watching the Dimitrov-Raonic match.

Dimitrov will next play Roberto Bautista Agut, who followed his upset second-round win over No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 third-round win over No. 27 Benoit Paire.

In another night match, Nishikori had an easy time beating Donald Young, the last American man in the singles draw, 7-5, 6-1, 6-0.

Before commenting, please read our Posting Guidelines.

Subscribe to Tennis Magazine - Just $10 per year
# !!!!!! This includes many other ads too!!!!
Top Ranked Players
More Rankings