Tsitsipas survives Fritz but Halep & Sabalenka are out – Day 8 Australian Open.

It did look for a fair time today that Taylor Fritz was going to make his first quarter-final at a major but he came up ever so slightly short in the end against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Stef had come out making a fair few errors and Fritz was just sticking to his game and going after his shots. When push came to shove and especially in the decider he gave Stef a few too many cheap points for the break and that was the match done. At two sets to one up, it did look like he was going to go on and take this. Tsitsipas thanked the crowd for their support and that was probably a key difference between these two on the day. Jannik Sinner is next for Stefanos as he had a little too much for Alex De Minaur and after winning a tight first set he seemed to relax and open the shoulders out a bit more. Whereas De Minaur was probably starting to feel the heat a bit more playing catchup, plus he wasn’t converting his break point opportunities.

Daniil Medvedev had a lot of praise for his opponent after his four-set win over Maxime Cressy, saying the American was a very good serve and volley player in a nutshell. The Russian was a little frustrated on court today but nothing too serious, just annoyed with himself and Cressy does this as he gives players little to no rhythm. Medvedev said he would rather have played this on the Rod Laver as there would be more space on court, as he found it quite cramped. Cressy will continue to give a lot of players problems looking forward though and I will love to see how he goes at Wimbledon, he made his way to the net 135 times in this one. Daniil’s next opponent will be Felix Auger-Aliassime after he weathered the early storm against Marin Cilic to also win in four. The Canadian hadn’t beaten Cilic before so psychologically this will be a big win. Cilic has had previous with looking the real deal and then it all falling apart and that happened here again, with the serve not as consistent. Good stuff from FAA though, he can swing freely against the Russian in the next round.

The heat really got to Simona Halep in her three-set loss to Alize Cornet, in fairness it got to both of them but Cornet dealt with it better. I saw on Twitter that it is her first quarter-final in a slam in 63 attempts. The word ‘brutal’ has been mentioned several times by tennis fans when talking about this match and with it being played in blistering conditions, it was always going to turn out this way with the two players game styles. Cornet mixed up her game nicely with drop shots, lobs and backhand winners down the line and will play Danielle Collins next. Collins reached the last four here three years ago. She had to come from a set down to beat Elise Mertens today. It is worth noting that Collins looked to be struggling physically, having issues with her knee and back and not always sitting down at the change of ends. I must say I was surprised to see here as a 1/3 (1.33) poke to beat Cornet, even though she is striking the ball very well.

Aryna Sabalenka flanked the form and actually won the first set of her match against Kaia Kanepi, something she hadn’t done all week and then lost in three. Reports suggest that Kanpei was relentless after dropping the opener until she saw the finish line and then proceeded to get very tight after nearly having a double break lead in the decider. Her big-serving saw her through eventually though in a final set breaker. It has seemed that the second seed has been on borrowed time all week and has always just done enough to get through. Kanepi reserves her best form for the slams these days though. She will face Iga Swiatek next who had to also come from a set down to make the quarters against Sorana Cirstea. It wasn’t a vintage effort from her today but she seems to problem solve really well and also she has the knack of winning the big points, her opponent also lent a hand as the match reached the finale. The Pole is around the 1/4 (1.25) mark to beat Kanepi.

Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).

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