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Australian Open Day 4 Men’s Recap – Zverev’s Serving Improves, Nadal Can’t Convert a Break Point

Rafael Nadal Paris Masters

With Day 4 in the books, we’re onto Round 3 of the 2020 Australian Open. Just one seed was eliminated as Nikoloz Basilashvili lost to Fernando Verdasco. Who put up a great performance and who will not be happy with his today’s efforts?

Australian Open Day 4 Men’s Recap

Those who impressed…

Ernests Gulbis won his fifth match at this year’s Australian Open. The Latvian defeated Aljaz Bedene in three comfortable sets, 7-5 6-3 6-2. It was a stellar performance, especially on serve, as Gulbis blasted 13 aces and saved all eight break points faced. He will now face 10th seed Gael Monfils for a spot in the fourth round.

After a disastrous showing at the ATP Cup, Alexander Zverev is in much better shape for the first Major of the year. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the defeat he handed to Egor Gerasimov was the lack of double faults, an issue that has tormented him in the past year or so.

Andrey Rublev clearly has a lot left in the tank, extending his winning streak to 14 in style. The Russian never faced a break point, won 90% of points on his 1st serve, and blasted a career-high 20 aces, smashing Yuichi Sugita 6-2 6-3 7-6(5). David Goffin awaits in what will surely be a fantastic third-round encounter.

Nick Kyrgios certainly impressed with his baseline game, taking down Gilles Simon. The Australian rarely bothers playing very long rallies, but he was certainly made to do so by Gilles Simon. The Frenchman did well to try to play this match on his own terms but it turned out that Kyrgios can out-rally him too.

…and those who did not

It might be controversial to include someone who won in straight sets here, but Rafael Nadal definitely didn’t have a good day at the office. Somewhat slow-ish footwork and a terrible break point conversion rate (1/18 in the first two sets) aren’t a good forecast for the rest of the tournament. But to win a Grand Slam you usually have to fight through a poor showing or two and it’s great for the Spaniard to have done it in three sets. And not to leave his opponent, Federico Delbonis, out of here; he was absolutely brilliant in saving these break point opportunities.

Kevin Anderson led Taylor Fritz two sets to love and 4-2 in the third, unbroken at that point of the match. But the American broke back and managed to extend the match for long enough for Anderson to completely run out of steam. The next two sets were very straightforward as the South African just didn’t have enough gas in his tank.

Match of the day

Maybe not necessarily the best in terms of level today, but Karen Khachanov against Mikael Ymer was certainly a joy to watch. With 20 service breaks in 47 games, it was a fun and a crazy duel between two guys who just wouldn’t back down even after four and a half hours of play. Ymer broke Khachanov when the Russian was serving for the match in the fifth and had an opportunity to end it on his own delivery at 6-5. But his opponent had a couple of tricks up his sleeve too and fearlessly attacked to level.

The Swede was two points away from victory again at 8-6 in the deciding tie-break. But that’s when the pressure piled upon him as he committed a couple of uncharacteristic errors to lose the next four points. Khachanov didn’t hesitate and took this gem of a match 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6. The Russian said in an interview after the match that it felt like “giving birth for 4 hours and 34 minutes.”


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