Australian Open 2019: Nadal and Federer march on as rising stars prosper

Rising stars Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe both won on Wednesday, joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in round three.

Published : Jan 16, 2019 20:28 IST

Rafael Nadal celebrates his defeat of Matt Ebden.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his defeat of Matt Ebden.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his defeat of Matt Ebden.

It was business as usual for  Roger Federer  and  Rafael Nadal  as they both progressed to the  Australian Open  third round on Wednesday. Neither has dropped a set in their opening two matches in Melbourne as they edge closer to a semi-final meeting.

Federer had it tougher against Dan Evans than Nadal did against Matt Ebden, the Swiss ultimately prevailing 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, while the Spaniard enjoyed a more comprehensive 6-3 6-2 6-2 success.

Fifth seed  Kevin Anderson  will not be joining them, though, after  Frances Tiafoe  sent him packing despite losing the first set to the big-serving South African.

Marin Cilic,  Tomas Berdych,  Grigor Dimitrov,  Alex de Minaur – who will now face Nadal – and  Karen Khachanov  all progressed on day three as an intriguing bottom half of the draw begins to take shape.


Nadal wary of De Minaur

For the third successive round Nadal will meet an Australian and he is well aware of the threat posed by rising star De Minaur. De Minaur edged past Henri Laaksonen on Margaret Court Arena, the teenager battling back to win the decider after letting a two-set lead slip.

READ | Home sweet home for Wozniacki as Stephens conquers Melbourne demons

"He has improved a lot during the last three years, today he is one of the best [young] players in the world," Nadal said of De Minaur.

"He's a great player, young, playing with big confidence after winning matches. It will be a tough one. I need to be ready for it."

Bautista-Agut dampens Mill-Mania

For the second match in a row Roberto Bautista Agut won the opening two sets of his match but was forced to play five, this time Australian John Millman forcing a decider having been 2-0 down.

As "Mill-mania" spread around the Melbourne Arena the home favourite looked ready to cause an upset, but once again Bautista Agut – who beat Andy Murray in round one – dug deep and booked a third-round meeting with Khachanov courtesy of a 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 triumph.

"It's really tough," said a deflated Millman. "It's obviously very tough to be here after that one. I left it all out there. Gave it a crack. I wanted nothing more than to go for a run here at the Australian Open."

Fabbiano comes through Opelka marathon

After winning a four-set thriller against John Isner in round one, Reilly Opelka endured another marathon match against Thomas Fabbiano, but it did not end in victory this time.

Opelka won the opening set tie-breaker 17-15 but was unable to stop Fabbiano battling back and the Italian took the deciding set 7-6 (10-5) after three hours and 32 minutes on court.

A third-round clash with Dimitrov awaits as Fabbiano continues to break new ground in Melbourne, having never gone past round one in six previous attempts.

Serene-inspired Tiafoe upstes Anderson

Playing with Serena Williams has clearly worked wonders for Tiafoe as the 20-year-old surged into the third round at the expense of fifth seed Kevin Anderson.


Tiafoe partnered with Williams at the Hopman Cup recently and weeks later he has already achieved more in Melbourne than ever before. The American described Wednesday's 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win as the biggest of his career and he credited spending time with Williams for his impressive start.

ALSO READ | Murray says he'll 'probably' have operation

"I think that week definitely helped me [in the] long run," he said.

"She's so nice, such a good competitor. Off the court, she's so chilled and relaxed. Once she gets on [it], she hates losing."

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment