Novak Djokovic dropped a set for the second match running but survived a tough examination by 15th seed Daniil Medvedev on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The world number one won 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3 and will face Japan’s eighth seed Kei Nishikori in the last eight, who recovered from two sets down to reach the last eight as well with an epic win over Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (8/10), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-6 (10/8).
It was Nishikori’s third five-setter of the tournament and the second time the never-say-die eighth seed had recovered from two sets behind. His win over the 23rd seeded Spaniard took a marathon 5 hours and 5 minutes after an opening set that alone lasted 76 minutes.
Earlier, France’s Lucas Pouille had never won a match at the Australian Open before this year, but the 28th seed on Monday reached the men’s singles quarter-final after beating Borna Coric 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2).
Djokovic and Medvedev both needed attention from the trainer during a draining 3hr 15min match liberally sprinkled with punishing rallies of 30 shots or more, and one of 42 strokes.
Coric, the 22-year-old 11th seed from Croatia took a tight first set on a tiebreak that hinged on a couple of points before Pouille responded.
Tenacious 24-year-old Pouille, who endured a Saturday night third round epic against Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin before coming through in five sets, goes on to meet 16th seed Milos Raonic for a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, a composed Raonic said Alexander Zverev’s racquet-smashing tantrum didn’t “have too much of an effect” as the Canadian 16th seed knocked the fourth seed out.
The German fourth seed erupted in frustration and fury during the second set of a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) drubbing by hammering his racquet into the ground eight times to leave it a mangled mess.
“It feels great to come through against Borna who is one of the best players in the world, “ said Pouille whose best previous Grand Slam performance was reaching the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016.
“It all hinged on a few points here and there,” Pouille added of his first victory in three Tour level matches against the former world junior number one who reached a career-high 12th in the world in November.
“Even though I never won a match here before this year I always enjoyed playing here. Atmosphere is great, amazing, electric. That’s why they call it the Happy Slam.”
Pouille has played Raonic on three previous occasions and is yet to beat the big-serving Canadian.
Their last meeting was at Stuttgart on grass last year “It was a close match in Stuttgart, “ said Pouille of the encounter which he lost 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). “It’s going to be tough one but I’ll be ready for it and I’ll be trying to reach my first Grand Slam semi-final.”
Raonic outclasses Zverev
Milos Raonic kept his cool to reach the quarter-finals Monday as young Alexander Zverev went into meltdown and crashed out of the Australian Open. The fourth seed erupted in frustration and fury during the second set of a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) drubbing by the Canadian 16th seed, hammering his racquet into the ground eight times to leave it a mangled mess. Read the full report here
Men’s singles - 4th round
Milos Raonic (CAN x16) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x4) 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Lucas Pouille (FRA x28) bt Borna Coric (CRO x11) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2)
Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) bt Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x23) 6-7 (8/10), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-6 (10/8)
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x15) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3