Australian Open 2018: Grigor Dimitrov battles past Andrey Rublev in punishing Melbourne heat

Melbourne: Third seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a tricky test in the fierce heat against feisty young Russian Andrey Rublev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

The 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory looked comfortable enough for the 26-year-old but it was far from plain sailing on Rod Laver Arena against the 30th seed who knocked him out of last year's US Open in straight sets.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating Russia's Andrey Rublev in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating Andrey Rublev in the third round. AP

Dimitrov, a semi-finalist last year, was a set and a break to the good but errors began to creep into his game and he surrendered the initiative as Rublev broke twice to level the match and then moved a break ahead in the third set.

Bulgarian Dimitrov upped his game to avert the danger though and recovered to take the third set.

After snatching the Rublev serve to take a 5-4 lead in the fourth, Dimitrov had to save a break point before claiming victory when he raced forward to ram home a forehand winner.

"These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," he said on court. "He’s a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do.

"The heat didn’t scare me at all today, that’s fine. I just needed to stay calm and composed ... go with the flow."

Dimitrov will face the winner of the day’s eagerly-anticipated clash between home favourite Nick Kyrgios and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the last eight.


Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 13:47 PM

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