MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov held his nerve to knock home favourite Nick Kyrgios out of the Australian Open in a fourth-round thriller at the Rod Laver Arena yesterday.
Third seed Dimitrov absorbed 76 winners and struck 64 of his own to prevail 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(4) and set up a quarter-final with unseeded Briton Kyle Edmund who beat Italian Andreas Seppi 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2 6-3.
Top seed Rafa Nadal was rattled by a feisty challenge from Diego Schwartzman but fought back strongly to move past the diminutive Argentine 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3.
The 16-times grand slam champion, who was broken three times as he lost the third set, responded with grit to claim the win on the third match point with a rocketed backhand return.
Victory ensured that Nadal will retain his world number one ranking as he set up a meeting with sixth seed and former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals.
Cilic earlier ground down Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(0) 7-6(3) at the Margaret Court Arena.
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki needed a shade over an hour to thrash Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-0 and advance to the quarter-finals. The Dane next meets Carla Suarez Navarro who beat Estonian Anett Kontaveit 4-6 6-4 8-6.
Belgium’s Elise Mertens progressed to her maiden grand slam quarter-finals in her first appearance in the Australian Open main draw, beating Croatian Petra Martic 7-6(5) 7-5.
Her opponent in the next round, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, firmed as a strong contender for the title with a flawless 6-3 6-0 victory over Czech qualifier Denisa Allertova in the early hours of Monday morning.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina dropped just three games before powering past Czech qualifier Denisa Allertova 6-3 6-0 and into the quarter-finals where she will meet Belgium’s Elise Mertens.
Asked about being one of the title contenders at Melbourne Park, Svitolina said: “It’s more pressure but it also gives you extra confidence.”
Briton Kyle Edmund reached his first grand slam quarter-finals with a 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2 6-3 win over Italian Andreas Seppi.
“It was a close first set and I didn’t feel I got the best start. He (Seppi) was hitting the ball very clean,” Edmund said in an on-court interview.
“In the second set I tried to shift the momentum and once I broke him in the last game of the second set I took control of the match.
“He plays very well here. He has reached the fourth round a few times and is playing very well but so was I. Through to my first quarter-final – I am very happy.”
Belgium’s Elise Mertens reached her maiden grand slam quarter-finals with a 7-6(5) 7-5 victory over Petra Martic of Croatia.
Sixth seed Cilic recorded his 100th grand slam match win, beating Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(0) 7-6(3) in the fourth round.
He reached his 11th grand slam quarter-final, tying Goran Ivanisevic for most quarter-final appearances at majors by a Croatian man.
“It’s beautiful to hear them (milestones). I had my 300th career win at U.S. Open 2014… and I hope I can continue to win three more here,” Cilic, who lifted the 2014 U.S. Open title, said in an on-court interview.
World number two Caroline Wozniacki needed just over an hour to beat Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-0 in the fourth round.
The Dane will next face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarter-finals.
Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro has reached the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third time, battling past 32nd seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit 4-6 6-4 8-6.