Nadal settles Kyrgios score

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal won a grudge match with Nick Kyrgios to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals and keep the heat on Roger Federer’s record for Grand Slam titles on Monday.
The world number one, labelled “super salty” by Kyrgios after he criticised the Australian’s behaviour last year, fought off a furious challenge to go through 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4).
As the tennis world mourned the death of Kobe Bryant, Kyrgios arrived at Rod Laver Arena wearing an LA Lakers shirt, and 15-year-old Coco Gauff had tributes to the basketball great scrawled on her trainers during the doubles.
Nadal and Kyrgios had been feuding after some bad-tempered matches but the Spaniard said he was impressed by what he’d seen from the often-temperamental Australian at this tournament.
Kyrgios fought back to challenge Nadal in a high-octane clash played in good spirit, with a polite handshake afterwards — a far cry from some of their previous exchanges.
“When he is playing like today with this positive attitude he gives a lot of positive things to our sport,” said the Spaniard. “He’s one of the highest talents we have on our tour and I like the Nick Kyrgios during the whole of this tournament.”
The 19-time Grand Slam winner will next play Austria’s Dominic Thiem — his victim in the last two French Open finals — as the clay king targets Federer’s all-time record of 20 Major titles.
Elsewhere, powerful Swiss Stan Wawrinka beat fifth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 to set up a quarter-final with Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who overcame close friend Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
And Simona Halep rose to number two in the world with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens. The Wimbledon champion from Romania, who avoided an exodus of top seeds in the previous round, will next play Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, a 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5 winner against Iga Swiatek of Poland.
Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, was the latest big name to fall as she went down to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2. — AFP
Australian Open results
Men (fourth round)
Dominic Thiem (AUT x5) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x10) 6-2, 6-4, 6-4; Stan Wawrinka (SUI x15) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x4) 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2; Alexander Zverev (GER x7) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS x17) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS x23) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4)
Women (fourth round)
Anett Kontaveit (EST x28) bt Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5; Simona Halep (ROU x4) bt Elise Mertens (BEL x16) 6-4, 6-4; Garbine Muguruza (ESP) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x9) 6-3, 6-3; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x30) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x17) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2