Nadal conquers Mannarino; Sabalenka and Zverev make surprise exits.
Jannik Sinner advances to quarterfinals.
The 4th round of the Australian Open, more popularly known as the ‘Round of 16’ was in full swing over the weekend. Now concluded, the quarterfinals are set to begin tonight at 10:00 Eastern Standard Time.
Rafael Nadal Overcomes the Mannarino test
Nadal, who we all know by now is playing in his first grand slam since returning from injury, has already proved that he is a viable contender for the title. Fending off a dramatic opening set from the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, he went on to win the match 716– 614, 6-2, 6-2. The first set tiebreaker lasted for over 28 minutes which accounted for a substantial period of the 81-minute set. Saving set point after set point, the two men battled furiously. Mannarino, who had discomfort in his lower abdomen, played valiantly to try to secure the set victory. However, he lost the set, and the loss evidently deflated him. This coupled with what might have been an injury sealed the outcome of the match.
Alexander Zverev’s exit
The German who won every match without dropping a single set was sent home in a similar manner as how he has been winning all tournament, in straight sets. He lost to Canadian player, Denis Shapovalov. The score was 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. In the quarterfinals, Shapovalov will be facing fellow left handed player Rafael Nadal.
Highlights from the Men’s Round of 16 Competiton
Number 7 seed, Matteo Berrettini, busted the Spaniard, Pablo Carreño Busta’s, hope of attaining his 1st grand slam title. Berrettini will face 35-year-old Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals. This development comes after Monfils eliminated Miomir Kecmanovic from the tournament in straight sets.
Jannik Sinner ousted Australian player, Alex de Minaur, from the competition in straight sets as well. The score was 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. With this win Sinner will face Stefanos Tsitsipas who played a gruesome 5 set match against the American Taylor Fritz which ended 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
And finally, number 2 seed Daniil Medvedev who continues to play big tennis will face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals. Medvedev won his match against Maxime Cressy, 6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 and Auger-Aliassime sent Marin Cilic packing after a 2-6, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory.
The Round of 16 Women’s competition dealt some big upsets for some big players. It saw seed numbers 2, 5, and 8 succumbing to their opponents as well as former world number 1 players leaving Australia as well.
Round of 16 victors
Seed number 1, Ashleigh Barty, has maintained top form thus far and continues to show why she is the top seed in the competition. She took care of Amanda Anisimova, 6,4, 6-3, to book her spot in the quarterfinals which starts tonight.
Barty will face the American, Jessica Pegula, who extracted a well fought win over number 5 seed, Maria Sakkari. The match ended with the score, 77-60, 6-3.
Victoria Azarenka, who is a former world number 1, was eliminated in fine style by number 4 seed, Barbora Krejcikova. The match ended 6-2, 6-2. Krejcikova will face Madison Keys of the United States in the quarterfinals. Keys took down number 8 seed, Paula Badosa in the Round of 16 to secure that matchup with Krejcikova.
Danielle Collins advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating Belgian player Elise Mertens, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. She will play Alizé Cornet who eliminated former number 1 player Simona Halep, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6.
Aryna Sabalenka departs the tournament Down Under
The exit of the Belarusian player, Aryna Sabalenka, was a huge upset arising out of the Round of 16. However, where there is upset there is also opportunity. The opportunity obtains in the hands of Kaia Kenapi who should harness the courage garnered after the win to propel herself closer to the title. It would also be in her best interest that she continues to engage the crowd for support as competition will undoubtedly become fiercer in her first career quarterfinals. With that said, Kaia Kenepi will face Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals after taking the victory over unseeded player, Sorana Cîrstea.