The quarterfinal entrants have begun to emerge from among the favorite stars as the 7th day came to an end at the Melbourne Park. The famous names, who have already booked their passages into the last eight are; Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Nick Kyrgios, Maria Sharapova, Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep and Ekaterina Makarova. While Nadal and Berdych won their matches with relative ease, Murray and Kyrgios had hard grinds against their fourth-round rivals. Kyrgios had a particularly difficult match against Roger Federer’s conqueror Andreas Seppi. Among the women, while Sharapova, Makarova and Halep rolled through without difficulty, Bouchard stuttered in the second set against the suddenly charged up Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania before composing herself and coasting to a close victory. But the most talked about match on Day 7 involved Australian star Nick Kyrgios playing against Italian Andreas Seppi. Kyrgios lost the first two sets but recovered to pull off a great victory at the Hisense Arena. The complete quarterfinal line-up will emerge at the end of Day 8 tomorrow.
Rafael Nadal has been a picture of confidence since his third round victory against Israel’s Dudi Sela two days ago. On Sunday, the Spaniard continued from there and scored a resounding 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 victory over14th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson at the Rod Laver Arena. Only the opening set kept Anderson in the match. The big serving South Africa, kept Nadal guessing for a while and held 5 break points in the 10th game against Rafa. But the Spaniard world no.3 not only staved off those break-points, he managed to break Anderson’s service in the 11th game. The game changed completely at this point since it was like breaking Anderson’s heart. Nadal held his serve and took the first set 7-5. In the next two sets, Anderson was a pale shadow of his own self as Rafa kept reeling off points to finish the match easily.
Andy Murray dropped the first set of the tournament but still played brilliantly against Bulgaria’s tenth seed Grigo Dimitrov. The Briton took the first set 6-4 but lost the second in the tie-break. Despite a patchy performance against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, Dimitrov showed superb composure against Murray. In the second set, Murray nearly had the tie-break in his pocket, when he served at 6-5 but Dimitrov hung on admirably, got both points from the Scot’s serve and ran away with the tie-break. After Murray won the third set easily, Dimitrov raced away to a 5-2 lead in the fourth set. The Scot, however, controlled the proceedings by reeling off 5 games in a row to frustrate the 23-year-old Bulgarian and after 3 hours and 32 minutes finished the match 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
While Tomas Berdych literally walked through in his match against local hero Bernard Tomic with a 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 victory, Tomic’s compatriot Nick Kyrgios had a harrowing time against Italian Andreas Seppi after being down two sets to love. However, it was not for the first time that Nick Kyrgios had recovered from two sets down. He did so against Frenchman Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon last year. Probably that would have kept him going even as he looked a dead fish in the waters after losing the first two sets. Andreas Seppi was hitting hard, deep and accurate and Kyrgios just ran around. The way Seppi played the first two sets, Kyrgios looked on the way out. But he collected himself and took the third set from the Italian at 6-3. In the fourth set, Seppi returned to torment Kyrgios yet again, ignoring the raucous support that the Australian was drawing from the Hisense area crowd. Suddenly, Kyrgios stood at the brink of the exit as Seppi held a match point in the fourth set tie-break. It was a case of now-or-never for Kyrgios as he saved the match point and took the tie break at 7-5. With set scores equaled, Kyrgios was relieved and though Seppi didn’t relent with his energetic play, Kyrgios was able to counter him with something better, when it mattered. The final set was fought hard as none of the two guys wanting to yield an inch. But finally, Kyrgios was able to dish out a better performance as he finished the match 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 8-6. For a place in the semifinal, Kyrgios will have to beat Andy Murray next.
Maria Sharapova showed great form against China’s No.21 seed Peng Shuai, winning eight games on the trot to demolish Shuai 6-3 6-0 to enter the quarterfinals. Joining Sharapova in the last eight were three other women; Simona Halep, Ekaterina Makarova and Eugenie Bouchard. Halep had no problems against Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, whom the Romanian no.3 seed beat 6-4, 6-2 while the Russian Ekaterina Makarova finished off Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3, 6-2. However, Bouchard lost a set in her match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu. It was all going well for Bouchard after she took the first set 6-1 and led 3-0 in the second. But suddenly she lost her nerves and gave in to some fine display from Begu, who pushed the Canadian in the second set. After the set scores were level, Bouchard found her rhythm in the decider to clinch the match 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. The beautiful Bouchard has now set up a clash with another tennis beauty, Russia’s Maria Sharapova.
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