Fourth-seeded men's player Alexander Zverev has crashed out of the Australian Open in the fourth round, losing to Canada's Milos Raonic. On the women's side, Serena Williams overcame Simona Halep to advance.
Germany's Alexander Zverev was dumped out of the Australian Open in the fourth-round on Monday by Canadian Milos Raonic 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5).
In a surprsingly one-sided match, Raonic was able to break 21-year-old Zverev's serve six times in the first two sets.
Although the third set was much closer, the Canadian converted his fourth match point to seal the contest in less than two hours.
As well as losing out on a place in the quarterfinals, Zverev was also reprimanded by the umpire. Aware that the match was slipping away from him in the second set, Zverev smashed his racquet into the ground, leaving it mangled and earning him a code violation.
"I just tried to stay composed, " said Raonic. "It worked extremely well for me today. I played incredibly good, did a lot of things extremely well."
The 28-year-old Raonic will now face France's Lucas Pouille, who beat Bora Coric 6-7 (7-4) 6-4.
Despite being tipped as a future world number one — having won last year's ATP Tour Finals, beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the process — Zverev has struggled at the Grand Slams. His best achievement so far was to reach a quarterfinal in the French Open last year.
Zverev's exit is another disappointment for Germany after the surprise exit of second-seed Angelique Kerber at the hands of American Danielle Collins. In her effort to reach the quarterfinals, Kerber lost 6-0, 6-2 in a match that lasted less than an hour.
Williams battles past Halep
Also, on the women's side, Serena Williams had to work hard to defeat world No. 1 Simona Halep 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to progress to the quarterfinals. After Halep broke Williams in the first game of the match, the 37-year-old American struck back to claim the next six and win the set.
Halep appeared to read Williams better in the second, breaking her at 5-4 to push the match to a deciding set, the only player to have done so in this tournament.
However, Williams broke again to pull ahead 5-3, and held serve to claim the set and the match.
"It was really an intense match and some incredible points but I love playing tennis and I love getting out here and I love this court," Williams said in the post-match interview on Melbourne Park's Rod Laver Arena.
"I really needed to elevate my game, she's the No. 1 player in the world and there's a reason why.
The American, who is vying for an eighth Australian Open title and a record-tying 24th career Grand Slam, will face Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals as the Czech had eased past former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1 earlier in the day to advance.
Djokovic withstands Medvedev challenge
In the final contest of the day, the men's No. 1, Novak Djokovic, dropped a set for his second consecutive match, but emerged the winner over Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3 to reach his first Australian Open quarterfinal since he last won the title in 2016. The Serbian converted seven of the 18 break points he carved out against the big-serving Medvedev and struck 43 winners to the Russian's 38 on his way to the victory.
"Definitely a physical battle," Djokovic said in the on-court interview. "Daniil has been playing some really good tennis in the last six months. He's got a big serve, obviously a backhand, doesn't make any unforced errors from that end."
Djokovic has won six of his 14 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park and is into his 10th quarterfinal at the hard-court tournament. He is to face the No. 8 seed, Japan's Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals, after he beat Spanish 23rd seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who stormed off the court after losing 6-7 (8/10), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) in a match that took more than five hours to complete. Carreno Busta later apologized for his outburst, which followed a dispute over one of the umpire's calls late in the match.
rc,pfd/rt (AFP, Reuters)