By Brian O’ Connell
The pick of the fourth round in the women’s draw was the tie between former champion Viktoria Azarenka and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. The diminutive Slovakian was fired up for this one and was able for everything the Belarussian threw at her. She looked to have the edge over Azarenka from the start as she had her opponent running all over the court, dictating the majority of the points in the first set, which she won 6-2. What the 5ft 3 inch Slovakian lacks in size, she makes up for in power, as she consistently overpowered Azarenka in rallies that often hit double figures in shots played.
Although the Belarussian clawed her way back into the match, winning the second set 6-3, Cibulkova showed she had the hunger to win, and after two hours of play, she closed out the final set 6-3. The huge smile on her face at the end was evidence of how important the match was in her quest to go one step further than last year’s runner’s up place. She’ll need to recover fast in order to be ready for the number one seed in the quarter-finals. Serena Williams has a 4-0 record against her and they last met in Brisbane only a short couple of weeks ago, where the American won out in two sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Venus Williams has won a place in the quarter-finals for the first time in five years. The 34-year old Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 and if she continues the fine form she has shown in the last week, a match against her sister Serena in the semi-finals is possible. The last time the two sisters met in a Grand Slam was in the 2009 Wimbledon final – a match which Serena won. For Radwanska, the defeat marks a very disappointing end to her Australian Open. She had not dropped one set in the rounds previous to her match against Venus.
Canadian starlet, Eugenie Bouchard has continued her stunning form in this year’s Australian Open as she battled her way past Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in three sets. The worry for Bouchard is that she hasn’t been tested fully in the tournament so far and will have to be at her very best in the quarter-finals as she faces Maria Sharapova, who will represent a huge step up in class for the 20-year-old.
Andy Murray avenged his defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals of last year’s Wimbledon Championships by defeating the Bulgarian in four sets on Sunday. Dimitrov really took the game to the sixth seed early on, attacking the net and dictating the play. His coach, Roger Rasheed, had said to him beforehand that he wanted to be entertained, advice that seemed to work, as the young Bulgarian entertained not just Rasheed, but the 15,000 other spectators who turned up for the evening game at the Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately for him though, Murray was ready for anything, and was at his best in his favoured role of counter-puncher, eventually winning the first set 6-4.
The work that the Scot has done off the court is really starting to show as he looks as fit as ever. And for all the stylish play of Dimitrov, who is often compared to Federer in terms of talent, he did not have the ability to grind out a result. After losing the second set, Murray regained his momentum and won impressively in the end, taking the next two sets 6-3, 7-5.
In the same side of the draw, young Nick Kyrgios beat Andreas Seppi in an epic match that lasted almost four hours. Seppi, the conqueror of Roger Federer in the previous round, won the first two sets, but Kyrgios made the comeback of the tournament, winning the next three sets to become the first Australian into the quarter finals since Lleyton Hewitt, who did so back in 2005.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia