Men’s Quarterfinals Set at Australian Open

by John on January 20, 2014

Rafa Australia 2014

All but one of the top eight men’s seeds made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, as the top half of the draw concluded fourth-round action Monday. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal struggled the most of the day’s four round of 16 winners, edging Japan’s Kei Nishikori in three sets, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), but taking three hours and 17 minutes to do so. “[Nishikori] played a fantastic match, in my opinion,” Nadal said. “Just a few mistakes in some moments that were tough ones. But for the rest of the match he played very aggressively and he went for his shots. He came on court with the determination to take the ball very early and go for winners.” No. 22 seed Grigor Dimitrov, the lone outlier of the last eight, defeated giant killer Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and will play Nadal in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Bautista Agut had knocked out Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth seed in a huge second-round upset. “I’m really happy to be in the quarterfinals,” Dimitrov said. “I’ve been working really hard in the past year, especially in the off-season. So it’s nice to see this result.” The other fourth-round winners on Monday were No. 4 seed Andy Murray and No. 6 seed Roger Federer. Murray defeated lucky loser Stephane Robert 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2 with just a hiccup in the third set. “I dominated 95% of the match, and for 15 minutes didn’t close the match out,” Murray said of being pushed to four sets. “But I still created chances, even when I wasn’t playing so well at the end of that third set. The fourth set was fairly comfortable… So it was pretty good for the most part.” Federer’s performance was the most dominant of the day. The former world No. 1 defeated tenth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. “I thought I played really well tonight,” Federer said. “Against Jo-Willie you’ve gotta bring your best game because he dictates play a lot. I thought I did a good job myself dictating a lot of the play tonight. It helped that I played well in the first three matches to come in and play a solid match tonight.” Murray and Federer will play in the other top-half quarterfinal on Wednesday. Advancing Sunday in the bottom half of the draw were No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, No. 3 David Ferrer, No. 7 Tomas Berdych and No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka. Tuesday’s quarterfinal pairings pit Djokovic versus Wawrinka and Ferrer against Berdych.

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