MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Third seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a tricky test in 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 U.S. Open in straight sets.
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 U.S. 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. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)