New Delhi: World number three Grigor Dimitrov got his Australian Open campaign back on track today with a gutsy win. The third seed had plenty to prove after a huge second- round fright from a qualifier, who pushed him to five sets. And the Bulgarian delivered in a testing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian rising star Andrey Rublev on Rod Laver Arena as temperatures touched 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).Also Read - Novak Djokovic on Australian Open 2022 Participation, Remains Tight-Lipped on COVID-19 Vaccine Stance

“These are the most important matches for me, when things are not working for me and I find a way,” he said. “I’m feeling good physically, the heat didn’t scare me at all today, so that’s a good sign.” He will next face the winner of an intriguing night match which pits Australian Nick Kyrgios against French veteran Jo- Wilfried Tsonga. Also Read - Novak Djokovic Requests Other Players to Join Union he Co-Founded

Fourth-seeded woman Elina Svitolina also kept her title dreams alive by ending the hopes of young teenage pretender Marta Kostyuk. Also Read - Australian Open Set to Welcome Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka; Unvaccinated Players Might be Unwelcome

At just 15, Kostyuk was the youngest Melbourne Park third-round contestant since Martina Hingis in 1996, and was hailed after her previous win as “the future of tennis”.

But she still has a lot to learn with fellow Ukrainian Svitolina handing out a 6-2, 6-2 lesson. “She’s definitely got a bright future,” said Svitolina, adding: “It’s very special for me to get past the third round.”
She next plays another qualifier — big-serving Czech Denisa Allertova who romped past Magda Linette 6-1, 6-4 — for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

In a tournament shorn of seeds, 81st ranked Petra Martic also swept into the round of 16, celebrating her 27th birthday by holding off a gritty three-set challenge from Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

Her reward is a match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens, who beat struggling Alize Cornet of France in two tough sets.

Cornet was among players wilting in the heat, with a doctor taking her blood pressure early in the second set as she succumbed to the baking weather.

(With PTI inputs)