World number 1 and 2009 Australian Open winner Rafael Nadal cruised into the last 16 in Melbourne for the 11th time (joining Federer and Edberg in that feat) after a commanding 6-1 6-3 6-1 victory against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in an hour and 50 minutes. Back in March 2016, Damir stunned Nadal in Miami when Spaniard retired in the third set, but it was a different day in the office today, with Rafa dominating from start to finish to continue his way towards the second Australian Open crown.
He offered just 2 break points to Dzumhur, losing serve once, and he was all over his opponent on the return, creating 16 break points and converting 7 to control the scoreboard from start to finish. Nadal won the opening 5 games of the match and he never looked back, overpowering his rival from the baseline to notch straight sets win and set the round 16 clash against Diego Schwartzman.
Damir served at only 52% and he stood no chance against such a good returner with that percentage, dropping 33 out of 75 points in his games to offer that many break points to Nadal. Spaniard was on fire in the opening set, covering the court beautifully and pushing Damir to the limits with his deep and precise groundstrokes.
He started to miss a little bit more in the rest of the match but overall he did more than enough to secure a dominant triumph and the place in the last 16. In one of the best matches of the tournament so far, the biggest hope of the home fans Nick Kyrgios advanced to the last 16 after a thrilling 7-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 triumph over 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 hours and 17 minutes. The Frenchman had more winners, he won 2 points more overall, broke Kyrgios twice and performed better on his first serve, but it wasn't enough to give him the win or to send the match into a decider against well-composed and focused Nick, who fought well from start until the end.
The Aussie was off to a perfect start, breaking Tsonga in game 3 to open up a 3-1 lead, but Jo-Wilfried pulled the break back 3 games later to level the score at 3-3. Tsonga was more efficient on serve in the second part of the set but there were no break points, heading towards the tie break.
Nick won it by 7-5 to give his partisan crowd something to cheer about, but Jo was ready to fight for every point and make a turnaround. He was on a good trail in set number 2, untouchable on serve and with a break at love in game 5 to rattle off 12 points in a row and grab the set by 6-4 after another hold at love.
The match got better and better with every next game and nothing could separate them in the third either, setting up another tie break after 12 good holds on both sides. Nick saved a set point at 5-6 and he won the last 3 points to steal the breaker by 8-6 and move a set away from the triumph.
With no room for errors, Tsonga fends off 3 break points in game 3 of the 4th set and he had a break point in the following game that could turn the tables in his favor. Nick remained focused and he saved it to stay on the level terms, leading the set into another tie break, a must-win one for Tsonga.
He was 5-2 up and it seemed that the deciding set is inevitable, but Nick had some other plans, taking the last 5 points of the match to seal the deal in 4 sets and competing on a very high level that could drive him all the way here in Melbourne.
Third round results: