(January 22, 2017) World No. 50 Mischa Zverev surprised top seed Andy Murray 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday. With the second- round exit of No. 2 seed and six-time winner Novak Djokovic, this marks the first time since 2002 that neither one of the top two men’s seeds reached the final eight in Melbourne.
Mischa Zverev is the older brother of Alexander Zverev, who lost to Rafael Nadal on Saturday in the fourth round. The elder Zverev is left-handed and plays an old-school serve and volley game.
Zverev broke Murray’s serve eight times during the match. He’ll play the winner of the Kei Nishikori – Roger Federer match for a spot in the semifinals.
Zverev is the first German to defeat a No. 1 player at a major since Boris Becker did it in the semifinals of Wimbledon back in 1995.
“It’s the shots he was coming up with when he did come forward,” Murray said in his news conference. “I mean, he came up with some great pickups, you know, reflex volleys especially at the end of the match when it was tight. That was tough because I was hitting some good shots, chasing some good balls down.
“Just wasn’t meant to be. He served very well when he needed to, especially when he was behind in games. Yeah, he deserved to win because, you know, he played great when he was down, and also in the important moments.
“I was kind of behind in the last couple of sets the whole way. But the first two sets, I had chances. I was up a break I think in both of them pretty early. Couldn’t convert my opportunities.”
“Right now I’m more disappointed for myself. Obviously it’s a tough one to lose. Obviously, you know, I wanted to go far in this event. It’s the earliest I’ve lost here for, I don’t know, a long time. So I’m disappointed right now.
“Like I said, credit to him. He came up with great, great shots and played a really, really good match. You know, you always finish matches you lose with things you maybe could have done a bit better, but he played some really good stuff.”
“Yeah, definitely the best match of my life, not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam,” Zverev said. “I don’t know. It was just incredible.”
Asked about the key to his success: “I believed in myself. I believed in my game. I believed that playing serve and volley against him and slicing a lot, trying to destroy his rhythm was going to work, which it did in the end.
“I felt comfortable going, like, three, four sets, even though it wasn’t that hot, but it was still pretty warm. I felt like I could hang in there with him, you know, sometimes rally and come in quickly. I feel like everything just worked out well.”
Zverev will move up in the rankings to No. 35.
Zverev will be taking on his idol Roger Federer in his quarterfinal match. Federer defeated fifth seed and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori in five sets 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 during the night session.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2017
This was Federer’s 200th win against a Top Ten player. The 35-year-old Federer is now in his 49 major quarterfinal.
At 35 years 174 days, the 17-time major winner is the oldest man to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors did it at 39 years 6 days at the 1991 US Open.
Federer played just 7 Tour-level events in 2016 after injuring his knee the day after his Australian Open semifinal. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in February and withdrew from tournaments at Rotterdam and Dubai. He took off the rest of the year after Wimbledon, returning to the tour in January to play the ITF mixed-event, The Hopman Cup before playing the Australian Open.
This will be Federer’s 13th Melbourne final eight.
“I kind of thought it was a good chance because I felt like probably he’s going to have a couple of good sets, I was going to have a couple of good sets” Federer said of his chances in the match. “If you can’t defend them, you know, it gets split, and then the match moves on, then you’re deep into the match.
“So, yeah, I mean, I didn’t expect him to play this well from the start. That put me on the back foot for the remainder of the match to some extent. But I was able to wrestle it back in my favor.
“Got into the match myself. Started to play the good sets I was talking about that I knew I could. The question was could I hang with Kei till the very end. I was able to do that, so I’m super happy.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2017
Reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka is in the final eight. He defeated Andreas Seppi 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(4). He’ll play the winner of the Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Dan Evans match.
“Well, was a tough and close match, that’s for sure,” Wawrinka said to media. “Three tiebreak, almost three hours. Was very close.
“I think we both play really well. Tough conditions. Good conditions, but quite fast. So it was interesting to play against him.
“I think I find a good way how to be aggressive, to mix the speed on the court today on important points, important moment, and to take advantage of that.”
“I think this match was the best match of the tournament so far, that’s for sure. Again, I’m not really worry about trying to improve every match, trying to play better or not. I know that my level is there, that physically I’m feeling good. So most important is to win, to still be in the tournament.
“I’m really happy to make the quarterfinal again. It’s a big result. I’m going to enjoy tonight and get ready for the next one.”
Wawrinka will take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next. Tsonga defeated Dan Evans 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.
“Tsonga always been there,” Wawrinka said of his next opponent. “Always been around the top 10. He was No. 5 in the world. He made the final here. He made the semifinal in each Grand Slam.
“It’s going to be just an interesting match.”
“It’s going to be a tough match,” said Tsonga. “I know he’s playing really good. It’s going to be important for me to be good in this match and play my best level.
“I think I will be ready, so… Yeah, it’s going to be a good challenge for me to play against Stan.”
More to follow…..