If you still believe in the “Big 4,” then it was whittled down to the Big 2 on Sunday at the Australian Open, where world No. 1 Andy Murray crashed out against unseeded Mischa Zverev of Germany, while 35-year-old Roger Federer continued his amazing comeback run.
Murray was shocked 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 by Zverev, the older brother of teen wunderkind Alexander Zverev.
“I don’t know how I did it,” the 29-year-old Zverev said. “I was like in a little coma and serve and volleying my way through it. I think you should tell me how I did it because honestly there were a few points where I don’t know how I pulled it off, I don’t know how I won some points but somehow I made it.”
Zverev took control of the net and pressured the Murray second serve, dominating the Brit’s points on his second delivery.
“I don’t think it’s so much someone necessarily coming in,” said Murray of his opponent’s 118 net rushes. “It’s the shots he was coming up with when he did come forward. He came up with some great pickups, reflex volleys especially at the end of the match when it was tight. That was tough because I was hitting some good shots, chasing some good balls down. Just wasn’t meant to be…But the first two sets, I had chances. I was up a break I think in both of them pretty early. Couldn’t convert my opportunities.”
Zverev will next face the No. 17-seeded Federer, who lost the first set before displaying his fitness and drive in upsetting No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
“It seems a bit unreal,” Zverev said. “Maybe playing Roger would be a dream to me because I always admired home growing up.”
Federer sent off Nishikori, his second Top 10 player this fortnight after No. 10 Tomas Berdych.
“I thought Kei played a great match. I thought it was a great match, a joy to be a part of it,” Federer said. “I wasn’t playing badly (in the first set), maybe I wasn’t hitting my spots well on the serve. It was about staying calm, after almost going down 6-0. I thought it couldn’t get any worse from there…This is a huge win for me in my career.”
No. 4 seed Stan Wawrinka and No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga booked a quarterfinal meeting when the Swiss defeated Andreas Seppi 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(4), and the Frenchman came from a set down to stop the run of unseeded Brit Daniel Evans 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
“It’s going to be a tough match,” Tsonga said of Wawrinka. “I know he’s playing really good. It’s going to be important for me to be good in this match and play my best level. I think I will be ready, so…yeah, it’s going to be a good challenge for me to play against Stan.”
Monday’s additional fourth-round play will see (8) Dominic Thiem vs. (11) David Goffin, (6) Gael Monfils vs. (9) Rafael Nadal, (15) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Denis Istomin, and (13) Roberto Bautista Agut vs. (3) Milos Raonic.
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