MELBOURNE, January 19, 2018
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nick Kyrgios contested in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena on Friday. As the only local player left in the Australian Open main draw from the nine who started, home favourite Kyrgios is now the sole hope of a first Australian men’s singles winner in Melbourne in 42 years.
Kyrgios was in top form against Tsonga, who won their only previous meeting and has a favourable 9-2 win-loss record against players at their home Grand Slams. The 22-year-old Canberra native won 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 in a high-quality encounter over three hours and 18 minutes.
“Tsonga is a great guy, a champion of the game, someone I looked up to as a kid,” said Kyrgios. “I am just happy to get through. To be in the locker room with these guys, the first year especially, was surreal.”
Kyrgios will next challenge No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov. “I have got a tough match against Grigor now,” said Kyrgios, who defeated the Bulgarian at the Brisbane International two weeks ago. “He is an amazing athlete who finished the year strongly last year, and the best-of-five sets might suit him.”
Later in the evening, Rafael Nadal defeated Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open for the 11th time and move level with Stefan Edberg in second place on the list for most round of 16 appearances in Melbourne.
Nadal hit 28 winners and converted seven of his 16 break point chances to secure victory in one hour and 50 minutes.
“I’m happy to be through to the fourth round,” said Nadal. “I needed hours of court, hours of playing sets with different players. That’s what I did. I think I had 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.”
Next up for the World No. 1 will be Diego Schwartzman from Argentina.