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Both RAFA Nadal & Nick Kyrgios Avoid Fifth Sets And Win At The Australian Open

By Ricky Dimon

Five-setters and a whole lot of drama have been the story of the Australian Open through four days. Nick Kyrgios provided one of those to things in his second-round match against Gilles Simon on Thursday night.

Kyrgios managed to avoid a fifth set, but he did not finish off the ever-battling Simon until plenty of drama was to be hand. The 35-year-old Frenchman recovered from a break down in the the third set to force a fourth before ultimately going down 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. The inevitable Kyrgios meltdown lasted four about four games late in the third set, and sometimes he can let those mental hiccups fester throughout the course of an entire match. This time, however, the 26th-ranked Australian righted the ship without further escalation.

“I knew that if it went five sets, it would have been very tough physically,” Kyrgios explained. “Especially going up against a guy like that, with the conditions being very slow. But I thought I lifted in the fourth. I just put my head down. I lost my way a little bit in the third set. I put my head down, I told myself, ‘Just cut the bullshit and just get to work.’ I got the break at 5-5. It was a good feeling to get through that.”

The 24-year-old’s reward is a third-round showdown with Karen Khachanov. It is a rematch of their 2019 Cincinnati encounter, in which mid-match and post-match tantrums by Kyrgios were epic even by his lofty standards.

Speaking of epic, Khachanov was among those around the grounds of Melbourne Park persevering late into the night even after Kyrgios had wrapped up his evening session. The 17th-ranked Russian broke Mikael Ymer at 5-6 in the fifth set to stay alive and went on to triumph 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(10-8) after four hours and 34 times.

Three other five-setters were taking place at the exact same time Khachanov and Ymer were putting on their titillating display. Stan Wawrinka held off Andreas Seppi, David Goffin scraped past Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to stun Kevin Anderson.

Going on simultaneously in Rod Laver Arena was the Rafael Nadal vs. Federico Delbonis match. Although Nadal was pushed to a ‘breaker in the second set, he enjoyed an otherwise routine day at the office.

For almost everyone else, Thursday was anything but routine.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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