The potential contenders remaining in the bottom half of the draw led by the four time finalist and second seeded Andy Murray of Scotland and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland have made their way into the last sixteen at the Flinder’s Park in Melbourne. They have been joined by David Ferrer, Milos Raonic and John Isner who have an outside chance of advancing to the latter stages of the tournament.
Andy Murray playing his second consecutive match on the Margaret Court Arena opened up the night session. During the course of the match, Murray dropped his first set of the tournament but had few problems seeing off the 32nd seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal in four sets 6-2,3-6,6-2,6-2 and will next play the top Australian Bernard Tomic. The 16th seeded Tomic beat fellow countryman John Millman in the last match of the day on Rod Laver arena 6-4,7-6(4),6-2 in two hours and seven minutes.
The 2014 champion Stanislas Wawrinka continued his impressive run in 2016 with his third consecutive straight sets win as he dispatched Lucas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-2,6-3,7-6(3) and now runs into an equally impressive Milos Raonic of Canada who put out Victor Troicki of Serbia 6-2,6-3,6-4 and recorded his third consecutive straight set win at this year’s Championship. While Wawrinka captured the Chennai title, Raonic won in Brisbane in the lead up to the Open.
In the only match between two unseeded players, the 24 year old Russian Andrey Kuznetsov took four sets to beat Israeli Dudi Sela 7-5,3-6,6-1,7-6(4) to set up a meeting with the 23rd seeded Gael Monfils who beat fellow Frenchman Stephane Robert 7-5,6-3,6-2.
There were mixed results for Spain and the United States as the eighth ranked David Ferrer of Spain easily defeated the 31st seeded Steve Johnson 6-1,6-4,6-4 and next faces the 10th seeded American John Isner who registered his maiden grand slam win against the left handed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-7(8),7-6(5),6-2,6-4.
The tall American fired 44 aces and had 79 winners and turned the match in his favour after claiming the second set in a tie-break. Isner never lost his serve and converted on 3 out of 7 break point chances as Lopez who was involved in a four and a half marathon against the Argentine Guido Pella in the previous round offered token resistance after dropping the all important second set in a tie-break.
The following is a list of matches in the round of sixteen to be played on Sunday with my pick mentioned first.
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Giles Simon (14)
Kei Nishikori (7) v. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (9)
Roger Federer (3) v. David Goffin (15)
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (24)
Among the ladies last years semi-finalist Madison Keys looks set to repeat her excellent showing in Melbourne as she beat the 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the opening match of the evening session on Rod Laver Arena. The fifth seeded American came from a set behind to beat the 20th seeded Serb 4-6,6-4,6-4 in a match lasting 2 hours 24 minutes.
Keys hit 44 winners but also made 52 unforced errors. She next faces Shuai Zhang of China who continued her exceptional run at the tournament by beating the American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1,6-3. Zhang had upset the second seeded Simona Halep of Romania and then took out the capable Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in round two.
The 2012 and 2013 champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus looks set to reach her fifth final in Melbourne as she ran away with 6-1,6-1 win over Japan’s 18 year old Naomi Osaka in just 55 minutes. She next faces the Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic who upset the third seeded Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza 6,-3,6-2.
German Annika Beck took out compatriot Laura Siegemund 6-0,6-4 and now faces another German – Angelique Kerber , who took out the promising American Madison Brengle 6-1,6-3. The Briton Johanna Konta continued her impressive run with a 6-2,6-2 win over Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic and next faces the Russian Ekaterina Makarova who upset another Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3,6-2.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]