The big four; Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer are through to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park. They are joined by David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov. The last named player is the only one, not seeded within the top eight. He comes in after beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in his fourth round match. The missing player in the last eight, is the 5th seed Argentinian, Juan Martin del Potro, who lost to Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 4-6, 5-7 in a hard-fought second round match lasting for close to four hours and finishing after 1 AM local time, two days ago. Barring Dimitrov, all others have justified their seed-rankings by tournament organizers. While Djokovic, Ferrer, Berdych and Wawrinka had already entered the last-eight on Sunday, the remaining four who won their fourth round matches on Monday were; Nadal, Murray, Federer and Dimitrov. Now the going gets interesting from this point onwards. For a change, there are more discussions on players and their chances in the upcoming matches and the talk about sizzling Melbourne heat has been relegated to the sidelines.
On Tuesday, there will be two men’s singles quarterfinal matches, and the first of which will be a battle between two highly talented guys; Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. On Sunday, Berdych played brilliant tennis in disposing of the South African Kevin Anderson, without having to ever face a break point in the match. The Czech remarkably won 89 percent of points from his first serve and kept breaking Anderson’s serve to win the match 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. But in the quarterfinals, he will be up against David Ferrer; one of the most consistent players in the game today. On Sunday, Ferrer struggled in the first two sets of his match against Germany’s Florian Mayer before finally beating him 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1. In the other quarterfinal, second seed Novak Djokovic will take on eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. The two of them met last year in a breathtaking fourth-round five-set battle, which many have billed as the best match of Australian Open 2013. On Sunday, Wawrinka scored a straight sets 6-3 7-6 7-6 victory over Tommy Robredo. Djokovic, too is having a great time, having had an unbeaten run of 28 matches since September 2013. In his fourth round match, Djokovic beat the Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. This was also Djokovic’s 25th straight win at Melbourne Park, with an overall record of 43-5. For the 19th straight time, Djokovic has walked into a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and it will not be easy for Wawrinka to dictate terms to the Serbian.
On Wednesday’s other two quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal takes on Dimitrov and going by the no.1 seed’s current form, he should sail through to semifinal quite easily. In his fourth-round match on Monday, Nadal played like a man possessed. He literally wore down the defenses of the 16th seed Japanese, Kei Nishikori and finally winning in straight sets 7-6, 7-5, 7-6. It was a hard-fought duel, with both players matching each other in unrelenting skills. The absorbing three sets consumed 3 hours 17 minutes and kept the crowd glued to their seats. In the remaining quarterfinal match, Roger Federer plays Andy Murray. On Monday, while Federer comfortably defeated tenth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in his fourth round match, Murray lost a set against another Frenchman 33-year old Stephane Robert. Unseeded in the tournament, Robert couldn’t throw much challenge to the might of Murray, though a brief lapse of concentration, on the part of Murray, allowed the third set to go into the tie-break. The final score read 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2, though in the third-set tie-break, Murray held four match points but somehow allowed Robert to get away with the set. The way Federer and Murray have played so far in the tournament, the match between the two promises to be keen affair and it will be difficult to hazard a guess.