Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australian Open Report: Quarterfinals

While it didn't have as many twists and turns and drama that last year's insane quarterfinal match-ups brought, there were still a lot to talk about.

David Ferrer [7] d. Rafael Nadal [1] 6-4 6-2 6-3

The biggest story to come out of this round is Rafael Nadal sustaining an injury during his match against David Ferrer. Apparently the injury came very early, in that epic 16-min+ second game, but instead of retiring, like he did last year, he played on clearly not 100%. His loss also meant that his quest for a "Rafa Slam" has ended. Credit to Ferrer though for playing his game and staying focused while his fellow Spaniard was suffering.

Roger Federer [2] d. Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1 6-3 6-3

With Rafa's injury, suddenly Roger Federer is the favorite again. Even though he hasn't shown his best form in the middle rounds, he brought his A-game against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka. There was a point late in the match where you could've been forgiven for thinking you were watching an exho as Federer (and Wawrinka) delighted the fans with a few trick shots. Federer will need to be on top form for his next opponent...

Novak Djokovic [3] d. Tomas Berdych [6] 6-1 7-6(5) 6-1

Many thought this would be a much closer match especially since both players have similar styles and have been playing excellent tennis. Much credit to Novak Djokovic for dismantling Tomas Berdych in such a straightforward manner. It definitely sent a message to the rest of the field that he's ready to win his second Australian Open championships.

Andy Murray [5] d. Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3

Finally, newcomer and hard-hitting Alexandr Dolgopolov provided the first real test Andy Murray has faced all tournament. Murray admitted that it took him awhile get used to the style of play of the Ukrainian, but with this win, his quest to get his first major title is still alive.

Caroline Wozniacki [1] d. Francesca Schiavone [6] 3-6 6-3 6-3

There are champions and there are CHAMPIONS and Francesca Schiavone showed us she was the latter this tournament. After winning the longest women's Grand Slam match two days prior, Schiavone was able to give world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki trouble from the get go. Even when she was down in the last two sets, she never gave up and her commitment and fire endeared her to so many. Now is Wozniacki ready for her maiden slam? Two more matches to go. She'll yet again to put to the test against...

Na Li [9] d. Andrea Petkovic [30] 6-2 6-4

Na Li hasn't lost a single match this year and hasn't lost a set in this tournament. To say she's on fire would be an understatement. With this win here, she makes the Australian Open semifinals two years in a row. Can she finally be the first Chinese player to reach the finals of a Grand Slam? Can she be the first Chinese player to WIN a Grand Slam?

Kim Clijsters [3] d. Agnieszka Radwanska [12] 6-3 7-6(4)

The best bet for the women's title though is Kim Clijsters who, unlike the others left, have actually won some. This tournament is squarely on her racket and if the form she showed this round was any indication, it's not a done deal. She made it out in straight sets (she hasn't lost a set this tournament so far like Na Li), but she looked sluggish and committed way too many errors. Still, her non-US Open Grand Slam history is a bit dubious so anything can still happen.

Vera Zvonareva [2] d. Petra Kvitova [25] 6-2 6-4

I actually didn't get to see this match, but Vera Zvonareva has shown strong form in the last two Grand Slam tournaments she has played, reaching the finals at last year's US Open and Wimbledon. She's now en route to her third straight major finals and with Clijsters not feeling 100%, it doesn't look impossible at all.

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