Rafael Nadal crushes Gael Monfils in Australia, books fourth round spot

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Melbourne, Australia (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated Gael Monfils, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, Saturday to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Nadal saved all six break points he faced and converted six of his 12 opportunities to beat Monfils for the second time this year in two hours and four minutes.

The Spaniard had also beaten Monfils, who committed 57 unforced errors, two weeks ago in the final of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

“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 Gael. So that makes the level that I played tonight better because it was against a tough opponent.”

The 27-year-old Nadal advances to a fourth-round clash with Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who won 17 of the last 18 games to beat American Donald Young, 7-5, 6-1, 6-0.

Sixth seed Roger Federer also advanced to the fourth round after beating Temuraz Gabashvili, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, in one hour and 41 minutes.

The 32-year-old Federer is through to the fourth round in Melbourne for the 13th year in a row where he will face 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won an all-French clash with Gilles Simon, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2, in one hour and 53 minutes. Simon had battled through to the third round with two five-set wins over Daniel Brands and Marin Cilic.

Grigor Dimitrov edged 11th seed Milos Raonic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(10), to reach his first Grand Slam fourth round against Roberto Bautista Agut, a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 winner over Benoit Paire.

Andy Murray defeated No. 26 seed Feliciano Lopez, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2, to earn a fourth-round date with unseeded Frenchman Stephane Robert, who defeated Martin Klizan, 6-0, 7-6(2), 6-4.

On the women’s side, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens set up a fourth-round showdown after beating separate opponents.

The 13th seed Stephens prevailed over Elina Svitolina, 7-5, 6-4, while second seed Azarenka downed Yvonne Meusburger, 6-1, 6-0.

Eighth seed Jelena Jankovic rallied to beat Kurumi Nara, 6-4, 7-5, to advance against No.11 Simona Halep, who eliminated Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas, 6-1, 6-4.

Other winners were No. 3 Maria Sharapova, No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova and Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza.

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