Actor Will Smith had a prime position in the crowd to see Kyrgios win for the first time on Rod Laver Arena, taking the last five points in the tiebreaker for a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) victory.
“Playing Jo, I was obviously very nervous, he was a guy I looked up to as a kid, still do,” said Kyrgios, who reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals as a teenager in 2014.
Then he gave a nod to another childhood favorite, turning to Smith in the stands.
“When I saw him out here I was so nervous, no joke,” Kyrgios said. “People think I’m cool, but I wanted him to think I was the coolest person ever.”
Kyrgios, aiming to be the first homegrown winner of the Australian men’s title in 42 years, will next play the third-ranked Grigor Dimitrov, who beat No. 30 Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal’s fourth-round match is against No. 24 Diego Schwartzman, who beat Aleksandr Dolgopolov, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
The youngest player in the tournament and the oldest player in the men’s draw went out earlier on Day 5.
The fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina ended 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk’s run with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Andreas Seppi withstood 52 aces from 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic for a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-7 (5), 9-7 win in 3 hours 51 minutes in the afternoon.
Players were bothered and spectators clamored for shade and mist-spraying fans in searing heat earlier Friday, and organizers were on the verge of enforcing the tournament’s extreme heat policy before temperatures dropped significantly after peaking at 40 Celsius (104 F) around 2 p.m. local time.
Alizé Cornet, who had her blood pressure checked during a medical timeout in her 7-5, 6-4 third-round loss to Elise Mertens, was among those calling for a review of the limits that determine when play should be suspended.
“I was feeling super, super hot. I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment,” she said. “Playing in this condition is of course very dangerous.”
She got some support from Nadal, who said the conditions were “very, very tough.”
“Sometimes is too much and can become little bit dangerous for health,” he said. “It’s not nice to see players suffering that much on court.”
Kyle Edmund overcame Nikoloz Basilashvili, 7-6 (0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5, in three and a half hours on an open court in the peak of the heat, earning a spot in the next round against Seppi. No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta beat No. 23 Gilles Muller and will next play No. 6 Marin Cilic, a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4) winner over Ryan Harrison.
Kostyuk entered the tournament ranked No. 521 and opened with a win over 25th-seeded Peng Shuai, becoming youngest player to win main-draw matches at the Australian Open since Martina Hingis in 1996.
After serving nine double faults — including one on match point — she joked about she’d gained from 59-minute defeat.
“Well, a lot,” she said. “How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson? I got it for free.”
Two days after saving two-match points and rallying from 5-1 down in the third set to progress through the second round, No. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki advanced, 6-4, 6-3, over No. 30 Kiki Bertens after needing four match points in a 10-minute game to serve it out. Her fourth-round match will be against No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova.
“Right now, playing with house money,” Wozniacki said. “Nothing to lose. I got a second chance. I’m just going to try and take it and see how far I can go.”
Petra Martic celebrated her 27th birthday with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory over the Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.
“That was really ugly,” Martic said of the heat. “You need to be mentally tough and ready to just suffer out there.”