MELBOURNE, Australia – While you were sleeping, here’s what you missed on Day 6 of the Australian Open.
Grigor Dimitrov wins fight of young guns: Dimitrov and Mils Raonic both knew the stakes of this third-round match, which pitted two up-and-comers seeking breakthroughs at a Grand Slam tournament. (The 22nd-ranked Dimitrov, 22, had never been past the third round of a major and the 11th-ranked Raonic, 23, had stalled out in the fourth round.) Dimitrov rose to the occasion with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10) victory. “I’m definitely satisfied that I have gone through that match,” Dimitrov said. “I think it’s a great stepping stone for me to get into that second week [of a Slam] that I keep talking about.” He will face Roberto Bautista Agut, a straight-set winner over No. 27 Benoit Paire, for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Rafael Nadal denies Gael Monfils: The much-anticipated match between the world No. 1 and the dynamic French player didn’t quite deliver what many expected. Sure, it had its moments (see video below), but for the most part, Nadal didn’t give Monfils any breathing room, and shut him down 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Nadal gave everyone a bit of a scare when he turned his ankle, but no trainer was called and he pushed on.
Caroline Wozniacki’s run ends: Not that anyone anticipated it, but Wozniacki will not be winning her first Grand Slam Down Under this year. Spain’s Garbine Muguruza rallied past the 10th-seeded Wozniacki 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to extend her best result at a major. The 38th-ranked Muguruza, who won the Hobart International before the Australian Open, will meet Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round.
American men finished: Donald Young led 5-2 in the first set and then completely unraveled, losing 17 of the next 18 games and ultimately the match 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to No. 16 Kei Nishikori. Young had been the last U.S. man left in the draw.
Victoria Azarenka vs. Sloane Stephens on tap: Azarenka, the two-time defending champion, hasn’t had a true test yet — she needed just an hour to dismantle Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-0. Now, all of the focus shifts to her upcoming match against Stephens, who eliminated Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-4. Azarenka and Stephens haven’t played since their controversial semifinal last year.
Roger Federer set to step up in class: Federer rolled for the third consecutive round, defeating Teymuraz Gabashvill 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Now all Federer would have to do to win the tournament is beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round and potentially Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Novak Djokovic in the final. First up is Tsonga, who handled fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets. Federer outlasted Tsonga in five sets in the quarterfinals last year.
“Lucky loser” Stephane Robert keeps on winning: Robert lost in the final round of the qualifying tournament. Then, he was given a 10-minutes notice that he was actually playing after Philipp Kohlschreiber’s withdrawal. Next thing you know, he’s in the fourth round of a Grand Slam and preparing to face No. 4 Andy Murray, who improved to 8-0 against Feliciano Lopez with a straight-set victory. Robert earned his spot by dispatching Martin Klizan.
More women’s results: No. 3 Maria Sharapova beat No. 25 Alize Cornet 6-1, 7-6 (6), but later admitted she was feeling rusty. … No. 8 Jelena Jankovic defeated her third straight Japanese player, ousting Kurumi Nara 6-4, 7-5. … The fifth-seeded Radwanska overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. … No. 11 Simona Halep cruised past Zarina Diyas 6-1, 6-4. … No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova dominated No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-0.
Photo of the day
Video of the day
Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils broke loose for a 25-hit rally in just the second game of their match.
Terrible serve of the day
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 Wimbledon champion:
Tweets of the day
Say what you will about RedFoo, guy is a good dude. Made security escorting him out turn around so he could take a pic w/ fan in wheelchair.—
Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 18, 2014