Australian Open: Rafael Nadal powers on, teenager Marta Kostyuk shines | News | DW | 17.01.2018
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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal powers on, teenager Marta Kostyuk shines

The men's No. 1 seed was comfortable in victory, while it was a good day for Ukraine's women, especially teenage star Marta Kostyuk. The news wasn't so good for Germany's highest-ranked woman, Julia Görges, though.

Rafael Nadal was in full-power mode as he defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to march into the third round.

Wearing a sleeveless shirt that reminded fans of his early years, the 2009 Australian Open winner toyed with Mayer. His masterful performance saw him deliver topspin shots all over the court, and Mayer had no answer.

With the contest seemingly over, Mayer broke Nadal as the Spaniard was serving for the match but Nadal found yet another gear to avoid a fourth set and keep his quest for Grand Slam title number 17 alive.

Youth triumphs

Earlier in the day, 15-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk followed her opening win against Thailand's Peng Shuai with a victory against Australia's Olivia Rogowska.

The former Australian Open junior champion beat Rogowska, a wild-card entry, 6-3, 7-5.

Kostyuk entered the competition ranked No. 521 and is the youngest player to enter the third round of a Grand Slam since Mirjana Lucic in 1997.

"I remember being at that age. No pressure. Second round, creating history and all that," the 26-year-old Rogowska said. "She [Kostyuk] came out firing so credit to her. She's going to be a really good player."

2018 Australian Open, Marta Kostyuk, Ukraine (Getty Images/C.Spencer)

Marta Kostyuk keeps making history

Read more: Australian Open: Angelique Kerber wins, Federer & Djokovic ease through

Further Ukrainian victories

Kostyuk is set to face fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina after the world No. 4 fought back in sweltering heat to beat Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

"I thought I was going to melt today, it was not easy and I was struggling a bit," Svitolina said. "Hopefully I can recover. I can't wait to get into an ice bath."

Kostyuk and Svitolina will enter the third round with compatriot Kateryna Bondarenko, who beat 15th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in the day's opening match.

One player who won't be in the third round is Julia Görges. The German's 15-match unbeaten run ended abruptly with a straight sets loss to French player Alize Cornet. "She had so many wins in a row and I'm just happy to break the spell," said an ecstatic Cornet, who dominated the No. 12 seed.


Read more: Australian Open: Evergreen Roger Federer the man to beat, women’s draw wide open

Bencic's fall

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic crashed out of the competition after losing 6-1, 6-3 to Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

The defeat comes two days after the 20-year-old Swiss' upset win against 2017 finalist Venus Williams.

Zhang Shuai, who also made headlines after beating US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round one, also failed to make it to round three after losing to the Czech Republic's Denisa Allertova 6-4, 7-6(5).

In the men's competition, Spain's 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta won after France's Gilles Simon retired with a leg injury at 6-2, 3-0, and Italy's Andreas Seppi beat Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

Read more: Novak Djokovic denies talk of Australian Open boycott

amp/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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