Apart from a few flashes Gael Monfils was no match for top-ranked Rafael Nadal who showed his world class once again to progress into the fourth round of the Australian Open 2014. The Melbourne 2009 conqueror was quick out of the blocks in the opener to build a 4-0 lead before letting the 25th-seeded Frenchman getting on the board. However, the latter stood no chance in the up-hill battle as Rafa clinched the third break of the set to move one nil up. The second set was only a contest only until 3-2 for the Spanish champion who managed to double the lead after grabbing two successive breaks late on. The third set would be the most competitive with Monfils breathing down Nadal’s neck until 4-3* when he was broken by the title contender who put icing on the cake with a hold to love. The top seed advanced by winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 after slightly more than two hours of tennis on Rod Laver Arena. His fourth round challenger will be sixteenth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan who progressed into the last 16 by defeating American player Donald Young 7-5, 6-1, 6-0.
“Tonight I think I played a great match,” said Nadal. “I’m very happy with the way that I played against a very tough opponent like Gaël. So that makes the level that I played tonight better because it was against a tough opponent. That’s it. Just one very good day. That makes me feel confident, but I am in the fourth round. That’s all.”
Eleventh seed Canadian Milos Raonic might have been a slight favorite before the clash against another big-serving player Grigor Dimitrov, yet it was the 22nd-seeded Bulgarian who advanced into the round four in the end. The athletes were tied after the opening two sets before Dimitrov pounced on the opponent’s serve in the last game of the third set to restore the lead. Both of them held on to their service games in the fourth set which was decided after a tie-break thriller where Raonic squandered a couple of set point opportunities and allowed the Bulgarian prospect to break the tape by converting on the fifth match point. He fired 15 aces to the Canadian’s 21, yet it was enough to celebrate a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10) victory and set up a match against Roberto Bautista Agut. After taking out Del Potro in the second round, the 62nd-ranked Spaniard overcame another seeded player – this time he recorded an emphatic straight sets triumph over Benoit Paire: 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
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