While the first set of men’s fourth round matches were relatively straightforward affairs, the second pair of outings were thrilling encounters that needed well above the minimum three-set allowance to determine the victors. In the end, and to the delight of the crowds in Melbourne, British No. 1 Andy Murray and surging Aussie sensation Nick Kyrgios will meet for a spot in the semi-final round of the tournament. This is just the second time that these two competitors will meet on the tour, with the Murray v Kyrgios head to head standing at 1-0.
The final match of the evening on Rod Laver Arena was a four-set clash between Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. The contest was entertaining at parts, as the pair split the first two sets and kept foiling each other’s break point attempts. However, Murray eventually found his way into the quarter-final round with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 scoreline. Murray hit 10 aces, 42 winners and won 77% of his first service points in the process.
“I thought I played well. I thought he started the match extremely well. He came out very aggressive, very explosive. But, you know, it’s tough to keep that sort of level of intensity up. And then, yeah, once I got myself into the match, I felt like I was able to dictate a lot of the points. I thought tactically I played a good match.”
In undoubtedly the best match of the tournament so far this year, Nick Kyrgios rallied back from two sets down to defeat Federer-vanquisher Andreas Seppi en route to the quarter-final round of the Australian Open. The Aussie was also forced to save a match point in the process before he mounted an astonishing comeback that ended with a decisive break late in the fifth and final set. Kyrgios became the first Australian to reach the quarter-final round of home Slam since Lleyton Hewitt achieved that feat in 2005.
“I knew it was going to be a tough battle. He’s playing some of the best tennis he’s played ever since coming off that win against Roger. I knew it was going to be tough from the get-go. I just had to draw on my experiences of coming back from two sets to love. Paid off in the end.”
The 19-year-old hit 66 winners, 25 aces, and won 75% of his first service points to advance to a thrilling encounter against Murray.
“Murray, I think he’s one of the greatest athletes on the tour. He’s going to make me play a lot of balls.”
This is just the second time that Murray and Kyrgios will clash on the tour, yet the stakes are far greater this time around. Murray cruised through their first encounter at the Rogers Cup in Toronto 6-2, 6-2, but it is unlikely that he will be handed such a simple match this time around. Kyrgios appears to play his best when under the bright lights of Grand Slam stadiums, and will likely push this encounter into 4-5 sets. While Murray should edge him out eventually, it will likely be a riveting contest on Rod Laver Arena.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Five Sets