Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios reached the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday after the weather-related tournament faced a new challenge: dirty rain that made the courts muddy and unplayable.
After a day of cleanup and delays, Australian Kyrgios struggled past Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep won over Englishwoman Harriet Dart.
Nadal, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 winner over Federico Delbonis from Argentina, had missed a shot that hit a ball girl in the head, but he melted his heart when he apologized and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"To be honest, I was so scared for her," said the 19-time Grand Slam winner. “The ball was quick and right on the head. She is a very brave girl. "
Kyrgios, who became increasingly popular with home fans after fundraising for the Australian bushfire crisis, was on two sets when he dropped the third set and his serenity.
But just when it looked like he was going to suffer one of his brand explosions, he campaigned for a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win.
"I definitely got lost a little … but I decided to concentrate," said Kyrgios about his mini meltdown in the third set. "I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set, but I put it away."
Kyrgios and Nadal remain on course in the fourth round after the Australian returned to criticism from the “super salty” Spaniard last year.
Their victories followed a day of upheaval caused by dirty rain, the recent weather problem at a tournament that had to deal with bushfires, heavy downpours and strong winds.
Rain, mixed with a dust storm, covered the grounds in Melbourne Park with a fine layer of sludge, which took hours to clean and which temporarily rendered many outdoor spaces unusable.
& # 39; I'm freaking out & # 39;
When the action resumed, Alexander Zverev, another man who has a feud with Kyrgyz, showed signs of returning to shape when he gave Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5 defeated.
The seventh German coached up to seven hours a day after a win-less ATP Cup, and the hard work paid off when he reached the third round safely.
“In any case, much better than the ATP Cup. Now in the third round I am very happy about it, ”said the 22-year-old, who defeated the Italian Marco Cecchinato in the first round.
The fifth seed Dominic Thiem, however, had a frightening second when Alex Bolt, 140th in Australia, led him to five sets before regaining his serenity and 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7) , 6-1 won. 6-2.
"It was suddenly a very tight third sentence that shouldn't happen. That's why I'm freaking out indoors and outdoors today, ”said the two-time French Open finalist.
A nosebleed was one of the biggest challenges for Daniil Medvedev in his win against Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, while Gael Monfils, who had injured his club hand in computer games before the tournament, defeated Ivo Karlovic.
In the women's game, Halep won 6-2 and 6-4 against Dart, while Belinda Bencic pushed former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko out of the tournament – she played this month despite her father's sudden death.
The two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza, who had climbed Kilimanjaro in the off-season to get back in shape, sent Ajla Tomljanovic home and hoped for 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.