Britain’s Andy Murray moved seamlessly into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday as in-form Swede Robin Soderling was sent crashing by Ukrainian unknown Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Women’s number two Vera Zvonareva made smooth progress and was joined in the year’s first Grand Slam quarter-finals by Petra Kvitova, who scrapped through three sets against Italy’s Flavia Pennetta.
Murray, last year’s beaten finalist, barely gave frustrated Austrian Jurgen Melzer a look in his 6-3 6-1 6-1 defeat, which maintained British hopes of ending a men’s Grand Slam drought which stretches back to 1936.
Despite the straightforward 6-3 6-1 6-1 win in 1 hour 44 minutes, which set up a clash with Dolgopolov, Murray refused to get carried away. The world number five, unbeaten this year, has not dropped a set in his first four matches.
“I’ve played Jurgen in the Slams a few times, including here two years ago, and I was expecting a tough match and I was surprised by beating him in three sets,” Murray said.
“I hit the ball well from the start of the match and I played some of my best tennis (here) last year. I don’t want to get carried away as I haven’t won this kind of thing (Major) before.”
Meanwhile Ukraine’s Dolgopolov, the world number 46, produced the performance of his life to reach the quarter-finals on debut and in only his fourth Major.
Dolgopolov, 22, fought back from a set down to stun Soderling 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-2. The Swede, a two-time Grand Slam finalist, had been unbeaten all year and was considered a contender for his first major title.
“Maybe with a little bit of luck I could have won, but he played better than me,” admitted Soderling, who was troubled by blisters on his foot.
“He’s a good player. You know, he has a great backhand and he’s moving very well. He’s a great counter-puncher. He has a good chance to do really well, I think.”
Spanish baseliner David Ferrer finally accounted for 20-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic, ending a giant-killing run which announced him as a future tennis power.
Ferrer weathered an early storm to take it 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4. Big-serving Raonic had already beaten Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny, the world number 22 and 10, and is now projected to break into the top 100.
Women’s second seed Vera Zvonareva recovered from a slow start to ease past Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-4 6-1 and move towards her third straight Grand Slam final, as she targets a maiden major win.
Zvonareva will next face the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova, who downed Italian 22nd seed Flavia Pennetta 3-6 6-3 6-3.
Women’s second seed Zvonareva recovered from a slow start to ease past Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1 and move towards her third straight Grand Slam final, as she targets a maiden major win.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska saved two match points before defeating Peng Shuai in three sets, leaving Li Na as China’s lone hope for a first Grand Slam singles title.
Radwanska will play the winner of US Open champion Kim Clijsters’ evening match with Ekaterina Makarova.
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