End of Denis Istomin’s fairy tale
After the chaotic Sunday results, where top seeds Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber made shocking exits, day 8 saw order being restored at Melbourne Park. It is for the first time since 2002 that both the top seeds haven’t reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. It will be for the first time since 2014 that we will have a winner in the men’s side that isn’t Andy or Novak. Wow, that sounds quite incredible about these two guys who have dominated world tennis in the last couple of years. Or will we have a new or an old-new champion? One can’t rule out old war horses Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer clashing in a grand slam final for the 9th time (Nadal has a 6-2 advantage). Or will it be Milos Raonic’s chance to establish himself as a grand slam champion. Having finished runner up in the 2016 Wimbledon, the Canadian would be itching to prove a point. The Swiss star, Stan Wawrinka, who has always been in the shadows of Roger Federer, would want to repeat his 2014 performance.
With expectations soaring and potential quarter-final spots in offering, young guns Dominic Thiem of Austria squared up against Belgian David Goffin. Having met each other seven times, with the Belgian leading 4-3, Goffin continued his domination against Dominic Thiem, winning his fourth-round match in four sets. Thiem is now the fifth top-eight seed that has been eliminated before the quarter-finals of the men’s draw.
Next up, Rafael Nadal continued his dream run in the first grand slam of the year, as he brushed aside the challenge of Frenchmen Gael Monfils in four sets. The ninth seeded Spaniard was far superior and consistent in his shot making and was cruising to a straight set victory but tightened up a bit in the third set to let the free style Frenchmen back into the match. In the fourth set, Monfils broke Nadal for a 4-2 lead and the crowd set themselves up for a decider. However, Nadal steeled himself and started serving strongly and with some solid backhand hitting, reeled off four straight games to book himself a last 8 berth and a 30th slam quarter-finals. Big serving Canadian Milos Raonic thumped thirteenth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets 7-6,3-6,6-4,6-1 setting up a tantalising quarter-final match with Nadal. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov sealed his place in the quarter finals when he stopped the fairy tale run of Denis Istomin in another four-setter. The quarter final line up for the women’s section was also drawn, bringing the curtains down on an absorbing day of tennis
Quarter Final Schedule – Men
Milos Raonic v/s Rafael Nadal
Stan Wawrinka v/s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
David Goffin v/s Grigor Dimitrov
Roger Federer v/s Mischa Zverev
Quarter Final Schedule – Women
Serena Williams v/s Johana Conta
Karolina Pliskova v/s Mirjana Lucic Baroni
Garbine Mugaruza v/s CoCo Vandeweghe
Venus Williams v/s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova