TENNIS: Rafael Nadal hailed an "amazing" act of sportsmanship from his opponent after overcoming nausea and dizziness to avoid a shock defeat in the second round of the Australian Open.
Nadal admitted he thought about pulling out of his match with American qualifier Tim Smyczek yesterday after coming close to throwing up on court as he failed to serve out the third set at 5-4.
But despite losing that set in a tie-break, the 14-time grand slam winner dug deep into his reserves of skill and stamina to win the next and then eventually break Smyczek’s serve in the decider to lead 6-5.
There was still time for more drama as a spectator shouted out just as the left-hander was serving at 30-0, with the resulting fault looking set to stand until Smyczek told the umpire to replay the point, and Nadal eventually secured a gutsy 6-2 3-6 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 7-5 win in four hours and 12 minutes.
Roger Federer lost the opening set of his second-round match to Italy’s Simone Bolelli as he needed treatment on a hand injury before securing a 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.
Sixth seed Andy Murray had no such problems in beating Australian Marinko Matosevic in straight sets.
Maria Sharapova hailed her mental strength after saving two match points on the way to a dramatic victory over unheralded fellow Russian Alexandra Panova.
Panova looked on her way to a n upset as she served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set. However, 2008 champion Sharapova produced two thumping forehands to save the match points and went on to win 6-1 4-6 7-5.
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