Rafael Nadal battled through a huge test to make his 10th Australian Open quarter-final Sunday as a ruthless Caroline Wozniacki kicked into full gear to book a date with Carla Suarez Navarro.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic won his 100th Grand Slam match as he mastered Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to set up a clash with top seed Nadal while Elise Mertens became the first Belgian to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne since Kim Clijsters in 2012.
The Big Story
Relieved Rafa survives test
Nadal ighting off tenacious Argentine Diego Schwartzman to win through to the quarter-finals on Sunday.
The 2009 winner was taken to four physically-demanding sets in almost four hours before prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena, ensuring he remains world number one after the tournament ends.
It will be his 10th Australian Open quarter-final appearance, second only to Roger Federer, and he will face Croatia’s sixth seed Marin Cilic. Nadal leads 5-1 in their previous meetings.
Diminutive 76th-ranked Schwartzman, a quarter-finalist at last year’s US Open, was bidding to reach the last eight for the first time in Melbourne.
He endeared the crowd with the scampering around the court and his astonishingly powerful groundstrokes for one so small in stature.
Dimitrov ousts Kyrgios
Bulgaria’s world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov won a gripping four-setter to knock Australia’s big hope Nick Kyrgios out of the Australian Open.
Dimitrov downed the 17th seeded Kyrgios 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) in 3hr 26min and will face Britain’s Kyle Edmund in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Dimitrov stepped up his campaign after a couple of indifferent wins in the earlier rounds to avenge his defeat to Kyrgios in the semi-finals of this month’s Brisbane International.
He won all three tiebreakers in a charged night match atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena before a capacity home crowd willing their player on.
Wozniacki cruises into last-16
Caroline Wozniacki is not thinking about a first Grand Slam title, saying there’s still “a long way to go” after storming into the quarter-finals.
The world number two handed out a tennis masterclass to 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 in 63 minutes of mesmerising shot-making on Rod Laver Arena.
Angelique Kerber is the only Grand Slam champion remaining in the draw meaning Wozniacki may never have a better chance to get off the mark.
Cilic brings up 100
Croatia’s Marin Cilic won his 100th Grand Slam match as he mastered Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to reach the quarter-finals.
The former US Open champion won the big points in putting away the 10th seed 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/3) in 3hr 27min on Margaret Court Arena.
He will face world number one Rafael Nadal in the quarters on Tuesday. Nadal leads 5-1 in their matches.
Britain’s Edmund into first Slam quarter
British hope Kyle Edmund reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a four-set win over Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
The unseeded Edmund, ranked 49, dropped the opening set, but finished strongly to win 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 and will face world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight.
Edmund, 23, is the only British man in this year’s field after five-time finalist Andy Murray’s injury withdrawal before the tournament.
In winning, he became only the sixth British man to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in the post-1968 Open Era.
Belgium’s Mertens replicates compatriot Clijsters
The 37th-ranked Elise Mertens also made the last eight, becoming the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to get so far in Australia.
She posted a straight-sets win over Croat Petra Martic and will now play fourth seed Elina Svitolina who swept past Czech qualifier Denisa Allertova in two easy sets
Shot of the day
From the sidelines
Rafa needs a change of shorts
Wardrobe trouble can affect anyone. In sports, it’s quite common. While some make adjustments, others do not. After winning the opening set against Diego Schwartzman, Nadal was left in need of a change of shorts.
Nadal wanted to change his sweat-soaked bright pink neon shorts, but decided against wasting one of his two toilet breaks for the match.
“So if I want to change my shorts what do I do? I have to change it here?” the Spaniard enquired of chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph, who informed him he could use one of his bathroom breaks to do so.
“Yeah, but depends how long is the match, I’ll have to change two times,” Nadal said.
He ended up changing his shorts in the players’ tunnel.
When Djokovic met Becker
At last year’s Australian Open, Novak Djokovic was ousted in the second round. It was the start of a slide that would see him lose his No 1 ranking. It led to him eventually parting wats with six-time grand slam winner Boris Becker in December last year.
As fate would have it, Djokovic and Becker crossed paths as the Serb made his way to the practice courts in Melboune on Sunday. The two shook hands and shared a few words.
Caroline Wozniacki has been in fine form at the Australian Open. On Sunday, not only did she cruise through to the quarters, but even succeeded with a tweener, a rarity in the women’s game.
“That’s the first time in a match,” she said of her between-the-legs shot.
“If I may so myself, I’m pretty proud of that. I’ve made a few tweeners in practice but never in a match, and even in practice I sometimes make a fool of myself.”
Gordon Ramsay at Melbourne Park
The TV favourite sat on the same on-court seats as fellow celebrities Will Ferrell and Will Smith and watched Rafael Nadal do battle with Diego Schwartzman at the Rod Laver Arena.
“I haven’t been called for a foot fault for three years. It’s not possible, man, it’s not possible!”
“It is possible”
“Yeah, I know it is possible.”
– Kyrgios had a lot to say to the umpire but this exchange was among the best
“I think a lot because we don’t have too many players with one-handed backhands. I saw a lot of matches from her. Yeah, she was one of my favourite players when I grew up.”
– Suarez Navarro credits Justine Henin for old-school fightback
He’s a great player in all aspects... In general terms, it was a great battle.”
– Nadal on Diego Schwartzman