5 talking points from Day 7 of the Australian Open
There was plenty of action on Day 7 of the Australian Open as players battled it out for a place in the quarterfinals.
Note: You can watch all the action live on Sony Liv Sports here.
1. Eugenie Bouchard reaches another Grand Slam quarterfinal
Eugenie Bouchard continued her good run at the Majors as she progressed to the last eight stage of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win.
The No. 7 seed had to work hard for her win though, despite taking the opening set 6-1 in 29 minutes. The young Canadian led 3-1 in the second, but her opponent Irina-Camelia Begu stormed back to take the set that saw seven breaks of serve. Bouchard eventually lost the set with a double-fault in the 12th game.
The Canadian gave herself a pep talk after the sloppy second set and committed fewer errors in the decider to take it 6-2 and march to the quarterfinals. She will face No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova in the last eight.
2. Comfortable win for Maria Sharapova
The No. 2 seed dominated proceedings in her round of 16 clash against China's Peng Shuai on Rod Laver Arena, bashing her way to a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
Peng was the first to get a break point off Sharapova’s serve in the seventh game of the first set, but the Russian saved it and won the next two games to take the opening set 6-3. The 21st-seeded Peng then committed 15 unforced errors and three double faults to lose the second set 0-6.
Sharapova faces Bouchard in her next match, a repeat of the semifinals of the French Open last year. The Russian leads their head-to-head rivalry 3-0.
3. Rafael Nadal cruises past Kevin Anderson
The World No. 3 reached yet another quarterfinal in Melbourne with a straight sets victory over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. Nadal was in complete control throughout the match and did not let Anderson dictate terms with his big serve, winning the match 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.
After saving five break points in the 11th game of the first set, Nadal capitalised on the South African’s serve in the next game to convert his second break point chance and take the first set 7-5.
There was no relief for Anderson in the second set as the Spaniard piled on winners off both his forehand and backhand. Anderson’s first serve percentage dipped considerably in the second set and Nadal got two service breaks which was sufficient to give him the set 6-1.
The 2009 Australian Open champion broke the South African’s serve in the third game of the third set and Anderson couldn’t get back into the match thanks to some aggressive tennis by the Spaniard.
Nadal will take on Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.
4. Nick Kyrgios survives a scare
It was another marathon match for Nick Kyrgios as the young Australian came back from two sets down to beat Andreas Seppi in Hisense Arena 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 8-6.
The Italian carried on with his form from his superb win against No. 2 seed Roger Federer in the third round. He won the opening set after breaking Kyrgios to love in the 11th game to record a confident start.
The Australian did not capitalise on multiple break point opportunities in the fourth game of the second set. He then saved a break point on his own serve in the fifth game, but found himself in deep trouble in the ninth game as he dropped his serve for a second time to trail by two sets.
Kyrgios broke Seppi for the first time in the third set to stay in the hunt. He established a good serving rhythm from there on, comfortably taking the set 6-3 to signal the first signs of his comeback.
The fourth set saw both players hold their serves without much trouble. Seppi had a match point in the ensuing tie-breaker, but Kyrgios served an ace to save it and struck a brilliant backhand winner to convert on his set point.
The 19-year old hit an amazing down-the-line forehand winner to break Seppi’s serve again in the middle of the fifth set. But he couldn’t consolidate as Seppi won the next 12 points to level things at 4-4.
Eventually however, Kyrgios broke Seppi’s serve again in the 14th game to complete what was an incredible match that got everyone on their feet.
5. Andy Murray holds off Grigor Dimitrov
The No. 6 seed Andy Murray reached his 6th consecutive Australian Open quarterfinal courtesy a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 win over Grigor Dimitrov on Rod Laver Arena. The match saw the pendulum swing one way then another, as both players struggled to convert their break point opportunities.
Dimitrov was ahead most of the time, only to repeatedly let Murray back into the match. It was an entertaining encounter which went well past the midnight hour, but the Bulgarian has only himself to blame after squandering a 5-2 lead in the fourth set. He broke his racket after being broken in the 11th game of the set to hand the initiative one final time to the Scot.
Murray will take on local favorite Kyrgios in the quarterfinals.