World number nine Auger-Aliassime beat Croatian former Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic, 2:6 7:6 (9/7) 6:2 7:6 (7/4). Auger-Aliassim and Shapovalov have already won the ATP Cup with the Canadian team at the start of the season and are showing good form.
“I lost to Marin three times. He played at the highest level again today and I had to win,” Auger-Aliassime said after the match. “I am happy that I succeeded, especially how I succeeded. The sun is hitting you really hard here in Australia but I feel good.”
Medvedev is struggling
In the quarter-finals, Auger-Aliassime is now challenging last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev, who had to concede his defeat in the last US Open semi-final. After winning 6:2 7:6 (7/4) 6/7 (4/7) 7:5 against American Maxime Creasy, the US Open champion was separated by three wins from his second major victory. But in a match of missed opportunities, the title holder had to fight for his success for three and a half hours. Medvedev was only able to use three of the twelve break chances against the service specialist.
“I was very upset about some things,” the 25-year-old said afterwards, wondering why he was not allowed to compete on the center court at Rod Laver Arena. In the absence of world number one Novak Djokovic, last year’s top-ranked player from Moscow is the highest-ranked player at the first Grand Slam of the season.
His match was due to be played at the Margaret Court Arena, while Australian Alex de Minaur occupied the biggest stage at Melbourne Park. “I really don’t know what to do to play the grand slam of the four grand slams in the central courts,” Medvedev quarreled. “When you play on a smaller court, it is more difficult to play against a professional serving and volleyball compared to a larger court,” the Russian player said.
Tsitsspace wrestles with Fritz
Stefanos Tsitsipas had a lot to fight for. The Greek fourth seed was on the court just after midnight local time before confirming a 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Taylor Fritz (US/20) after 3:23 hours of play. “I gave everything. I am very happy with the way I played and how I played,” said the 23-year-old winner. “I knew it was going to be very physical, and I had to be patient.”
Fritz was in the main round of 16 for the first time and could have won the match. However, he was only able to convert two of his 15 break points, and in the end he also had to praise his greatest opponent’s experience. “It was an epic match. I gave it my all today and I’m proud of the way I fought back,” the 23-year-old said.
Also two Italians
As the second Italian after Matteo Berrettini, a Wimbledon finalist, Yannick Sener reached the quarter-finals. 20-year-old South Tyrol defeated Australian Alex de Minaur 7:6 (7/3) 6:3 6:4 and is in the Melbourne quarter-finals for the first time, where he meets Tsitsipas.
For the first time since the French Open 49 years ago, two Italian players are in the top eight. Paolo Bertolucci and Adriano Bannata did it in Paris in 1973.
Off for Sabalenka and Halep
While the men’s favorite prevailed, the second seed took home the women’s win in the evening session. Arina Sabalenka (BLR/2) lost to Estonian Kaia Kanepi 7:5 2:6 6:7 (6/10). The world number 115 has never made it past the third round in Melbourne and is now in her first quarter-final at the age of 36.
Alice Cornet was already shedding tears of joy after passing her heat test against two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep (ROU/14). After her success in 6:4 3:6 6:4, the unseeded French fell to her knees, while the 2018 finalist Halep supported herself with both hands at the net. The thermometer was still 33 degrees in the late afternoon when Cornet reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final two-and-a-half hours later – her 63rd main finish and at the Australian Open as the first French woman since 2009.
Halep does not reach the level
Halep could see the difficulties in the heat. Time and time again, the 30-year-old Romanian would prop herself up on her racket between gatherings or didn’t walk properly to some balls. During breaks, both players tried to cool off with ice packs or towels. “I got sick, I felt a little dizzy,” Halep said. “It’s hard to play in the heat and I wasn’t ready for that day.”
In the quarter-finals, Cornet now meets 27th seed Danielle Collins. This beat Elise Mertens (Bell/19) 4:6 6:4 6:4. The world number 30 is the third American after Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys. Collins is in the top eight at the Australian Open.
Former French Open winner Ega Swiatek also reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time in three sets. The seven-ranked Pole defeated Romanian Sorana Kirstia 5:7 6:3 6:3. Your next opponent is Kanepi.
Australian Open in Melbourne
(Australia, Grand Slam tournament, 47.5 million euros)
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