Nadal and Dimitrov move into last 16
Rafael Nadal looked in ominous form in a crushing win over Damir Dzumhur to reach the last 16 of the Australian Open.
Playing in much cooler conditions than those which greeted the daytime matches, Nadal took an hour and 50 minutes to overcome the Bosnian 28th seed 6-1 6-3 6-1.
Last year’s runner-up, who plays 24th seed Diego Schwartzman next, has yet to drop a set and has put concern about the state of his knees firmly behind him.
Nadal said: “I needed hours on court, hours of practice, hours of playing sets with different players. That’s what I did. I think I did 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.”
Things were tougher for third seed Grigor Dimitrov, the man Nadal beat in an epic semi-final 12 months ago.
Dimitrov has yet to find the form that carried him to the brink of a first grand slam final but there is no doubt about his desire and he battled past 30th seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-4.
The Bulgarian was taken to five sets by American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald in the previous round and was at least happy that he is heading in the right direction.
Dimitrov said: “I recovered well. Obviously today was another tough test for me. I just had to find a way again, simple as that. At least the game was a little bit better than the previous match.”
Dimitrov and Rublev served a remarkable 28 double faults between them, with the Bulgarian throwing in 15. “That’s absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “Hopefully I serve better next round.”
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