Spanish star Rafael Nadal and local boy Nick Kyrgios cruised to the third round of the Australian Open 2020 on Thursday which was affected by plenty of weather disruptions that left the courts muddy and unplayable.
Kyrgios fought his way past Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stamped her class with a win over Britain’s Harriet Dart.
Nadal, who powered past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, miscued a shot that hit a ball girl in the head, but he melted hearts when he apologised and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“I was so scared for her, honestly. The ball was quick and straight on the head. She’s a very brave girl,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said.
The day was decorated with rain mixed with a dust storm that coated the Melbourne Park facilities in a fine layer of mud which took hours to clean.
However, as action resumed, Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5.
“Definitely much better than the ATP Cup. Now in the third round, I’m very happy about that,” said the 22-year-old, who beat Italy’s Marco Cecchinato in round one.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a scare as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt before recovering his composure to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2.
In the women’s draw Halep beat Dart 6-2, 6-4, while Belinda Bencic knocked out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — she was playing despite the sudden death of her father this month.
Two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season as she searches for a return to form, dispatched home hope Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.