News ID: 208514
Published: 1147 GMT January 21, 2018

Dimitrov ends Aussies hopes; Nadal seals 10th QF in Melbourne

Dimitrov ends Aussies hopes; Nadal seals 10th QF in Melbourne
Grigor Dimitrov celebrates his massive victory over Australia’s Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on January 21, 2018.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov ended home hopes of a first men's champion in 42 years with victory over Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open.

Third seed Dimitrov, 26, won 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) in a gripping night-session contest in Melbourne, BBC reported.

He goes on to face Britain's Kyle Edmund in the last eight on Tuesday.

"Playing against Nick is always tricky, two weeks ago I lost against him. He was serving unbelievably, playing unbelievably," said Dimitrov.

"He fought really hard and it's one of those matches you have to take any opportunity you have.

"Even serving for the match I felt it wasn't over. I am just glad to get through that match."

The meeting of last year's semifinalist and the home favorite had been much anticipated, and it lived up to the billing.

Dimitrov found the form that almost defeated Rafael Nadal 12 months ago as he built a two-set lead thanks to two high-quality tiebreaks.

The Bulgarian had a chance to grab a potentially decisive break early in the third but it passed him by, and when he sent a forehand wide to drop serve it invigorated Kyrgios and the home crowd.

With his serve now in a groove, Kyrgios powered through the third set and saved two break points at the start of the fourth, one of them with a blistering second-serve ace.

After clawing his way back into contention, Kyrgios appeared to have given the match away when he inexplicably netted a smash to fall 5-3 behind.

However, a rasping backhand winner prevented Dimitrov from serving out the match and a third tie-break would be required.

It was Kyrgios who buckled, netting a forehand with the court wide open at 3-3, and Dimitrov suffered no repeat of his earlier wobble as he clinched victory with a brilliant forehand winner.


Top spot secured


Top seed Rafa Nadal was rattled by a feisty challenge from Diego Schwartzman but held firm to fend off the diminutive Argentine 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 and reach his 10th Australian Open quarterfinal on Sunday.

In an often breathtaking clash laden with sumptuous shot-making, the Spaniard was rocked by the hard-hitting Schwartzman who broke him three times to claim the second set at Rod Laver Arena, Reuters reported.

But the 16-times grand slam champion responded with typical grit, bolstering his defense to blanket the 24th seed’s firepower and counter-punching brilliantly to book a match with Croatia’s Marin Cilic.

After three cakewalks in the previous rounds, the three-hour 51-minute workout was timely, said Nadal, who came into the tournament with some queries over a knee injury.

“You can’t expect easy matches when you’re playing in big tournaments,” the world number one told reporters after saving all his seven break points in the final set.

”It’s always better winning in two hours than in four. But that’s it. It was a good test for me. It was a lot of hours on court. Moments under pressure.

”A lot of positive things that I managed well.

“But being honest, too, moments like this helps to be more confident in yourself, in your body.”

The victory ensured Nadal, who lost a five-set classic to long-time rival Roger Federer in the final last year, will retain his world number one ranking.

It also put the Mallorcan equal second with Stefan Edberg on the number of quarterfinal appearances in the Australian grand slam in the professional era. Federer, naturally, leads with 14.





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