Sunday, January 25, 2015

Australian Open Day 7: Kyrgios tops Seppi in thriller

Nick Kyrgios, shown in the 2013 Sacramento Challenger, saved
a match point in his five-set victory over Andreas Seppi.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Match of the day -- For the second straight night, a 19-year-old starred in Melbourne.
   Nick Kyrgios of Australia saved a match point and outlasted Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 8-6 in 3 hours, 34 minutes today in the fourth round.
   Kyrgios became the first Aussie man to advance to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first male teenager since Roger Federer to have reached two Grand Slam quarters.
   Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla., ousted two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded fourth, on Saturday to move into the fourth round of a major for the first time.
   Kyrgios survived a match point with a service winner at 5-6 in the fourth set of the night match in front of a boisterous capacity crowd of 10,500 at Hisense Arena.
   At Wimbledon last year, Kyrgios saved nine match points in a second-round victory over Richard Gasquet and stunned top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the fourth round before losing to Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals.
   Here's a link to my 2013 story on Kyrgios:
   Seppi, trying to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at age 30, showed no signs of a letdown after shocking second-seeded Roger Federer in the previous round.
   Upset of the day -- None. 
   Notable -- No. 6 seed Andy Murray held off No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 in 3 hours, 32 minutes to move into the Australian Open quarterfinals for the sixth straight year. Murray avenged a quarterfinal loss to Dimitrov at Wimbledon last year that ended the defense of Murray's title, the first in singles at Wimbledon for a British man in 77 years. Murray will face Kyrgios in the Melbourne quarters.
   Seventh-seeded Eugenie Bouchard, a 20-year-old Canadian, advanced to the quarters with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win over Irina-Camelia "Ain't Too Proud To" Begu of Romania. Bouchard won nine of the first 10 games but lost seven of the next nine, forcing her to play a third set for the first time in the tournament.
   In the quarterfinals in the bottom half of the draw, Bouchard will take on No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova, and No. 3 Simona ("I Need") Halep will meet No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova.
   Men's seeded winners -- No. 3 Nadal, No. 6 Murray, No. 7 Tomas Berdych.
   Men's seeded losers -- No. 10 Dimitrov, No. 14 Kevin Anderson.
   Women's seeded winners -- No. 2 Sharapova, No. 3 Halep, No. 7 Bouchard, No. 10 Makarova.
   Women's seeded losers -- No. 21 Peng Shuai.
   Stars and stripes -- Lisa Raymond, 41, of Media, Pa., and Robert Lindstedt, 37, of Sweden outclassed Anastasia Rodionova of Russia and Robert Farah of Colombia 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of mixed doubles. Raymond has won 11 Grand Slam titles (six in women's doubles and five in mixed doubles) and Lindstedt one (in men's doubles at last year's Australian Open with Lukasz Kubot of Poland).
   In the first round of junior boys singles, third-seeded Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area beat Alex Molcan of Slovakia 6-1, 6-4. 
   Northern California connection -- Fifth-seeded Raquel Kops-Jones, from San Jose and Cal, and Abigail Spears advanced to the women's doubles quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 12th-seeded Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Kops-Jones and Spears reached the semifinals last year for their best Grand Slam result.
   Kops-Jones and Scott Lipsky, a former Stanford star, lost to fourth-seeded Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Alexander Peya of Austria 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round of mixed doubles.
   Lindstedt competed at Fresno State before transferring to Pepperdine. Rodionova played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis.
   In the first round of junior boys singles, Sameer Kumar of Carmel, Ind., defeated Renta Tokuda of Japan 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Kumar is headed to Stanford next year. 
   Fast facts -- Murray seeks his first Australian Open title after three runner-up finishes (2010, 2011 and 2013). In addition to Wimbledon in 2013, he won the 2012 U.S. Open for his maiden Grand Slam title in his fifth final. Murray spent last year rebounding from "minor" back surgery in September 2013, reaching the quarterfinals or better in all four Slams but failing to play in a major final for the first time since 2009.
   Berdych reached the Australian Open quarterfinals, in which he will play Nadal, for the fifth consecutive year. He lost in the quarters from 2011 through 2013 and in last year's semifinals to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).
   Quote -- Bouchard, who took a short break after double-faulting to lose the second set: "I gave myself a good, long hard look in the mirror. I said, 'Genie, this is unacceptable.' I really kind of kicked my self in the butt a little bit."

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