Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka advanced to the Australian Open’s third round with a straight-sets victory over qualifier Dalibor Svrcina on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Nishioka, the 31st seed at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, beat the 20-year-old Czech Svrcina, ranked 219th in the world, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour, 47 minutes.
Nishioka said afterward that he wanted to cut rallies as short as possible to prevent the younger, fitter Svrcina from wearing him down.
“It was our first meeting, but we know each other because we’ve practiced many times, and we both knew exactly what we wanted to do. I know he can run a lot and put pressure on me,” Nishioka said.
“I tried to play aggressively…go to the net and finish points early. It was a lot of work.”
Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka is pictured in action against Czech qualifier Dalibor Svrcina in the second round of the men’s singles at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 18, 2023. (Kyodo)
It is the second time the left-handed Nishioka has reached the third round in a Grand Slam, the last time coming here in 2020.
His next opponent will be 65th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald, who reached the third round by defeating injured Spanish top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 at Melbourne Park’s center court, Rod Laver Arena.
American Mackenzie McDonald plays a shot during his men’s singles second-round match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 18, 2023. (Kyodo)
Nadal began struggling with a hip injury he’s been dealing with but gutted it out till the end.
“I considered stopping. I tried to keep playing without increasing the damage. But I just wanted to finish the match,” Nadal said. “I couldn’t hit my backhand at all. I couldn’t run at all.”
Spain’s Rafael Nadal leaves the court after losing to Mackenzie McDonald of the United States in the second round of the men’s singles at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan. 18, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
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