American Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to defeat Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday, securing his spot in the Australian Open third round for the second straight year.
“That was huge for me,” said Fritz. “He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back…going back-to-back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself, ‘I have to keep running’.”
Up next for Fritz is fifth-seed Dominic Thiem, who outlasted Australian wild card Alex Bolt 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2.
“That’s exactly what the offseason is for, to get in great physical shape so it’s easier mentally to maintain the level over five sets,” said Thiem. “Australia is coming so early in the season, so it’s really necessary to have a great offseason and put your body in the best shape possible. It’s even nicer when it pays off in the early rounds.”
Germany’s Alex Zverev continued his push for a maiden Grand Slam title as he advanced in straight sets on Thursday. The seventh-seeded Zverev beat Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5, and will play Spain’s Fernando Verdasco next.
American John Isner beat Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, blasting 32 aces and never facing a break point. The 19th seed draws former champion and 17th seed Stan Wawrinka for a spot in the final 16.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios got past France’s Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to book his spot in the third round.
“I knew that if it went five sets, it would have been very tough physically, especially going up against a guy like that, with the conditions being very slow,” said Kyrgios. “But I thought I lifted in the fourth. I just put my head down.”
Kyrgios meets 16th seeded Russian Karen Khachanov next.
Last year’s US Open finalists, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, both rolled in straight sets in their respective matches on Thursday. The top-seeded Nadal will play fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, while Medvedev takes on Australia’s Alexei Popyrin.