The lower half of the men’s draw advanced in metronomic fashion on Saturday in Melbourne, with no seeded upsets setting up some blockbuster fourth round matches moving into the weekend.
No. 2 seed Andy Murray led the charge, unaware that his father-in-law had collapsed on another court, defeating No. 32 seed Joao Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“At the beginning I think he was extremely aggressive, very intense,” Murray said of Sousa. “He was getting into position to dictate a lot of points with his forehand. Once I started to hit the ball a little bit cleaner towards the end of the match I was able to get him in his backhand corner and dictate more of the points. It was tricky.”
Murray’s next test will be against homecountry favorite and No. 16 seed Bernard Tomic, who defeated Aussie compatriot John Millman 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-2.
Other Top 10 winners were No. 4 Stanislas Wawrinka subduing upset expert Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(3), No. 8 David Ferrer rolling over No. 31-seeded American Steve Johnson 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 10 John Isner coming from a set down to beat No. 18 Feliciano Lopez 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4.
Awaiting Wawrinka in the next round is No. 13 seed Milos Raonic, who defeated No. 21 Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
“He’s a tough player, for sure,” said Wawrinka who is 4-0 career against the Canadian. “Never lost [to him], but it’s always been a tough match. He’s been playing really good since the beginning of the year, winning the first title in Brisbane against Roger [Federer] in the final. He’s trying to improve. He’s trying to win big titles. It will be a difficult match.”
Isner dropped 44 aces on F-Lo to set up a meeting with Ferrer.
“It’s a very tough opponent, especially for me, the way he plays,” Isner said of F-Lo. “He certainly has given me trouble in the past. Also, it’s been a little while since I’ve been in the round of 16 at this tournament. It feels great. I’m very relieved to get through, want to keep on going.”
Isner is 1-6 career against Ferrer. The winner of the match-up will meet the Murray-Tomic victor in the quarterfinals.
No. 23 Gael Monfils and Russian Andrey Kuznetsov also set up a meeting after the Frenchman beat countryman Stephane Robert 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, and Kuznetsov held off Dudi Sela 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(4).
“Was never easy to play against Stephane,” Monfils said. “He’s going for some shots, some crazy ideas, some crazy tactics. I feel I manage to win in straight set, and I think I did pretty good on that.”
On the schedule for Sunday in Melbourne are (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (14) Gilles Simon, (3) Roger Federer vs. (15) David Goffin, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. (24) Roberto Bautista Agut, and (7) Kei Nishikori vs. (9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Novak Djokovic loves eating dates during matches for energy: “Dates are I think one of the fruits that give you the low glycemic index, which is very important, because you don’t want to have a strong shot of sugar and then it takes you down very rapidly like, okay, I don’t want to name certain brands. It’s not the place. Dates are something that I’ve been consuming on the court for a while now.”…Hey everybody, no shit match fixing wasn’t on Andre Agassi’s radar — he came up in the pre-internet age and shot right to the upper echlon of the game. He wasn’t slogging for years at Futures events scraping for money. Not a revelation nor a story…Austrian Daniel “Crazy Dani” Koellerer, who was banned from men’s tennis for match fixing, says the Tennis integrity Unit is a joke and tennis encourages a gambling culture. “Match-fixing is a big problem in tennis, but I don’t want to name names,” he told The Australian. “I’m not a bitch of the ATP. It’s a big problem but it is the ATP’s fault. As long as they take money from betting companies to sponsor tournaments it’s always going to be a problem.” According to the Australian, “Koellerer claimed his ban rested on evidence provided by a serial drug cheat, whom he said agreed to testify against him in return for having his sentence for a positive doping test reduced from 24 months to 12. Although not naming him, the player in question is believed to be Wayne Odesnik…”…One blogger who has downloaded and analyzed the match-fixing data dump has identified Lleyton Hewitt as the aforementioned Grand Slam-winning match fixer. Other names of suspected players in flagged matches according to a story by Vice Sports include Andreev, Bogomolov, Chela, Dodig, Ebden, Gabashvili, Gimeno-Traver, Golubev, Hajek, Istomin, Lacko, Montanes, Russell and Tipsarevic…Hewitt has been so injured the last few years, it’s hard to believe that didn’t influence this “data” calling him out…Vice Sports statement from Buzzfeed: “As our stories state, the analysis of betting data does not prove match-fixing. That’s why we did not name the players and why our investigation went much wider than the algorithm and was based on a cache of leaked documents, interviews across three continents, and much more.”…Hey, if tanking matches was an automatic match-fixing certainty, then Bernard Tomic would be banned from tennis for life…We are shocked — SHOCKED, we say — that people think the ATP may have done a shitty job of regulating itself before the Tennis Integrity Unit was put together. Why wouldn’t you throw Andre Agassi a bone when crystal meth turns up in his pee cup? You’ve got to look out for No. 1, and that’s the ATP brand…Roger Federer is the first man to win 300 matches at Grand Slams, that’s GOAT-feed there.
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