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Sports

Zverev powers way to last 16

Agence France-Presse
Zverev powers way to last 16
Alexander Zverev
AFP

Melbourne, Australia – World No. 3 Alexander Zverev powered his way into the last 16 of the Australian Open with a superb serving display against Moldova’s Radu Albot on Friday.

The powerful German Tokyo Olympic gold medallist thundered down 16 aces and won 83 percent of his first serve points to put away the 124th-ranked Albot, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour, 57 minutes in hot conditions on John Cain Arena.

After a day of shocks on Thursday, it was altogether calmer for the favorites until American Amanda Anisimova outlasted defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5).

The 20-year-old Anisimova saved two match points in the third set at Margaret Court Arena ahead of the tiebreaker and ended the match with an ace. She hit 46 winners to Osaka’s 21.

Anisimova advanced to the next round against top seed Ash Barty who kept her unblemished record this year and rolled past 30th seed Camila Giorgi, 6-2, 6-3.

Zverev will next take on Canada’s 14th seed Denis Shapovalov.

Zverev has been impressive in his three wins so far at the Open as he shapes up to a possible quarterfinal with 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini came through a five-set epic against talented Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/5).

Flamboyant French 17th seed Gael Monfils, who won the Adelaide warm-up event, continued his great early season form with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-3 romp against 16th-seeded Christian Garin of Chile.

And Serbia’s 77th-ranked Miomir Kecmanovic, who had been due to play – and probably lose – to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round on Monday, now finds himself in the second week after knocking out Italian 25th seed Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 6-2, 7-5.

Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka crushed 15th seed Elina Svitolina 6-0, 6-2  and set up a clash with French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova for place in the quarterfinals.

Krejcikova overcame a big fright against 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko, coming through 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 and declaring her never-say-die attitude meant her rivals should now be afraid of her.

After a day of shocks on Thursday, it was altogether calmer for players in the top 10 as fifth seed Maria Sakkari and eighth seed Paula Badosa joined fourth seed Krejcikova in the last 16.

Greece’s Sakkari beat Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-4, 6-1 and Badosa came through 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk after bouncing back from a mid-match wobble.

 Monfils on a roll

On the men’s side in the third round,

Later, top seed Barty, who has been in dominant form in 2022, faces the experienced Italian 30th seed Camila Giorgi on Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka, who won at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021, will be playing Amanda Anisimova on the adjacent Margaret Court Arena at the same time.

Nadal comes up against dangerous Russian 28th seed Karen Khachanov in the late match, with the Spaniard warning that his best is still to come as he works his way back to peak form after an injury-hit 2021.

Barty, chasing a first title at her home Slam, has barely broken sweat so far, dropping only three games in two matches.

Nadal’s path to become the first man to win 21 Grand Slams -- he is tied on 20 with Roger Federer and Djokovic, who are both absent -- could see him meet Olympic champion Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV

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