That was superb from Stefanos Tsitsipas. There cannot be too many complaints about that. Yes, Federer had his chances and had he have taken one of those break points (0/8) in the second set, it would probably have been game over. The truth is Stefanos is a very talented and intelligent young man. He speaks and plays with a maturity beyond his years. Federer was asked for the second time in the last few days if it was like watching himself? That must start to grate after a while. Though Federer’s forehand broke down at times today you have to give it Tsitsipas for his all-action approach, he really took it to the Fed-Express. This was a performance that made a very big statement for the future.
Tstitsipas will play Roberto Bautista Agut, who won ANOTHER five-set encounter. His third of the event. Today he beat Marin Cilic, who said after that his knee was a problem. You can’t take it away from Bautista though, what an effort and he is still undefeated this year. Murray, Millman, Khachanov and Cilic to make his first slam quarter-final. Apparently, he was 0/9 at the fourth round stage in the majors. I find it incredible how he has played at this level having lost his mother less than a year ago. It would be a fantastic story for him to win one or at least make a final.
To finish a trio of first-time quarter-finalists, we will have the very likeable Frances Tiafoe there, after he beat Grigor Dimitrov in four. I loved his celebration at the end, giving it some and then falling to the court. I love the way he wears his heart on his sleeve. There were some blistering shots off both wings, particularly to break in the fourth set. At the big moments, he seemed to really step forward and ask Dimitrov the questions. After, he was bantering that Rafa “better be ready”. I hope he goes out and enjoys himself on the Rod Laver by gives a really good account of himself.
Rafa Nadal gave Tomas Berdych another bit of a going over. The Czech player was severely dominated in the opening two sets as the bagel and breadstick suggest. Rafa really has remodelled his game well. I have enjoyed watching Rafa for years but the extra aggression is also decent viewing. Berdych did start stepping up the court and could have easily won the third before narrowly going down in the breaker. I said we would find out where Berdych is currently at. Now we know.
Ash Barty and Maria Sharapova followed them onto the Laver. The Aussie reeling off nine straight games here, giving her a 4/6 6/1 4/0 lead. Barty did then have a blip, you would probably expect that if am honest. There is a lot of pressure on her in Melbourne. Sharapova had a chance to get it back to 4/4 in the decider, but the plucky Aussie dug in again to serve her way out of trouble. I was sent a clip of Sharapova’s interview after, where she was asked with meldonium now being on the banned list would she struggle? She didn’t take it too well. Sharapova said the shoulder was an issue again but it was just a case of “pain management”.
Amanda Anisimova struggled to replicate her performance against Aryna Sabalenka. That is just not going to cut it right now against Petra Kvitova, who is swinging freely and impressing. You cannot argue with Petra’s form so far this season, the question is always maintaining this level for two weeks. If she does we know anything is possible.
Wow, Danielle Collins totally hit through Angie Kerber’s defence. There was a mixture of rifled winners, drop shots and volleys to win the points, good variation. I am still pretty stunned by the 6/0 6/2 scoreline here. Collins had never won a main draw slam match, before this week, something that she has said will become regular. You can’t blame her mindset after that.
I also didn’t see Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova taking out Sloane either. Especially after the American had won the first set. Pavy stuck to her game plan though and the aggressor on the day took the win, the Russian was all over Sloane’s second serve. She has had some good results here with wins over Puig, Bertens and Sasnovich, prior to this. Pavy v Collins for a place in the semis, for both it would be their first as well.
Andy Del Potro