Nadal defeats Khachanov to reach fourth round of Australian Open
Former world number one Rafael Nadal has progressed to the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday. Nadal, who is the only former champion left in the men's draw, defeated Russian tennis player Karen Khachanov in a hard-fought match. Nadal prevailed in a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 contest. Khachanov gave Nadal a tough challenge but was not able to record an upset.
Why does it matter?
- Nadal continued his rich vein of form in the first Grand Slam of the year as he continues his pursuit for the record 21st Major of his career.
- So far, he has dropped just one set in the Australian Open and is among the favorites to win the title in absence of world number one Novak Djokovic and 20-Slam king Roger Federer.
Key stats from the match
Nadal served four aces in the match, ten less than Khachanov. He also made more double faults (6) than his rival (3) and still managed to stay ahead. Nadal won 73 service points and 45 receiving points while Khachanov manage to collect just 64 service points and 25 receiving points. Nadal won five break points as compared to one won by the Russian.
What next for Nadal?
Nadal advanced to the 4th round of the AO for the 15th time in his career after wrapping his third-round match in two hours and 50 minutes. He will next take on either 18th seed Aslan Karatsev or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the R16.
Nadal terms his contest against Khachanov as 'best match'
After winning the battle against Khachanov, a delighted Nadal said that this was the best match he has played since his return from injury. "That was the best match I've played since I came back. I wish him all the very best for the season," he said. "This gives me a lot of energy ... that's something to put in my pocket," he added.
Key results in men's singles
Alexander Zverev defeated Radu Albot in R32 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Italy's Matteo Berrettini won a five-set thriller against Spain's Carlos Alcaraz 6-2, 7-6(3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(5). Denis Shapovalov went past America's Reilly Opelka 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. France's Gael Monfils hammered Cristian Garin in straight-set 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-3. Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta recorded a hard-fought win against Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3.