Australian Open 2018: Talking points (Day Six and Seven)

The first week of this year’s Australian Open concluded with one of the matches of the tournament. Here is a look back at the weekend action before we enter the business end of the competition.

The favourites for the men’s title power through 

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Novak Djokovic receiving treatment. (Image Credit: GETTY IMAGES via. https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/907374/Novak-Djokovic-injury-treatment-medical-timeout-Australian-Open)

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic made it into the fourth round after both won in straight sets on Saturday.

Defending champion Federer defeated Richard Gasquet 6-2 7-5 6-4 as the Swiss continued to dominate down under.

Gasquet failed to break the second seed until the third set by which time the match was as good as over.

Djokovic suffered an injury scare during his 6-2 6-3 6-3 win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The Serb had treatment on his lower back and leg early in the second set and struggled throughout the match. He had saved numerous break points before getting over the line, but the scoreline was slightly flattering for the 30-year-old.

Halep still on for maiden Grand Slam

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All smiles from the world number one after a gruelling contest. (Image Credit: AFP via. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/australian-open-simona-halep-result-schedule-draw-next-round-lauren-davis-a8169441.html)

World number one Simona Halep saved three match points as she managed to just about overcome unseeded American Lauren Davis in an epic encounter.

The Romanian – a two-time quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park – needed almost four hours to defeat the world number 76.

With one set a piece, both players gave it their all in the decider, which lasted 142 minutes. Halep saved the match on three occasions before serving out for a 4-6 6-4 15-13 win.

The contest equalled the longest ever in a women’s singles match at the Australian Open, and could hinder Halep’s quest for a first Grand Slam title should she not be able to recover fully ahead of her fourth round match against Naomi Osaka.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev is out

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Zverev waves goodbye to another Grand Slam. (Image Credit: GETTY IMAGES via. https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/907377/Australian-Open-2018-Alexander-Zverev-Hyeon-Chung-Rafael-Nadal)

The German is tipped to be a real star in the men’s game for years to come, but the 20-year-old struggled against the unseeded Hyeon Chung.

Zverev was two sets to one up against the world number 59, but fell to a dramatic 5-7 7-5 2-6 6-3 6-0 defeat.

Despite his world ranking of fourth, the German is yet to make it as far as the fourth round in any Grand Slam. Perhaps a little bit more experience of the longer format will help the young man fulfil his potential.

Grigor Dimitrov battles past home favourite Nick Kyrgios

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Grigor Dimitrov wins epic encounter. (Image Credit: AP via. https://www.iol.co.za/sport/tennis/dimitrov-ousts-kyrgios-to-reach-open-quarters-12837050)

The Bulgarian is the man most likely to upset the big names in the men’s draw and the third seed showed his mental nerve to power past Kyrgios 7-6 7-6 3-6 7-6.

With the Australian crowd fully behind their man, neither Dimitrov or Kyrgios could claw away from their opponent. Both the first and second set went to tiebreaks, which were won by the Bulgarian.

Kyrgios, who hit 36 aces throughout the match, rallied the crowd with some excellent tennis. The 17th seed deservedly got himself back into the match with a 6-3 win in the third.

You could sense the nerves of both players in the fourth set, but Dimitrov produced some excellent stuff to win a third tiebreak of the match to set up a fourth Grand Slam quarter final appearance.

Kyle Edmund making huge strides after fourth round win

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Kyle Edmund is through to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the very first time. (Image Credit: SKY SPORTS via. http://www.skysports.com/tennis/news/12110/11216605/kyle-edmund-defeats-andreas-seppi-at-australian-open-to-reach-maiden-grand-slam-quarter-final)

 

The Briton will face Dimitrov in his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final on Tuesday after coming back from a set down to beat Italian Andreas Seppi.

Edmund won 6-7 7-5 6-2 6-3 and hit 25 aces on his way to a famous victory.

The world number 49 has really come on leaps and bounds since last year’s French Open, and is now just the second British man to make it to the last eight in Melbourne since 1985 (the other being Andy Murray).

His next opponent will be a massive step up on his past three, but it will be one that he will be looking forward to.

Edmund goes into the quarter-final match with nothing to lose and the chance to showcase his ability against the best the game has to offer.

A career high ranking will follow the tournament, one that the 23-year-old will remember for the rest of his life.

 

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