Nadal, Murray to meet in Australian Open quarters

Nadal, Murray to meet in Australian Open quarters

Rafael Nadal of Spain gestures to the crowd as he celebrates his victory over Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in their men's singles fourth round match of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Sunday. AFP

Second-seeded Nadal successfully negotiated the obstacle of Ivo Karlovic's giant delivery, taming the Croat 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Murray reached his career-high showing at Melbourne Park as he defeated American John Isner 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2.

Between them, Karlovic and Isner rained down 42 serves, but won a cumulative one set.
Nadal kept Karlovic in check over two and a half hours, firing 35 winners in comparison to 55 for the towering Croatian loser.

The Spaniard dropped his only serve in the second set and surprisingly, the match did not feature a tiebreaker, a rarity in Karlovic matches where serve is everything.
"I knew how tough it would be, if he serves well you can do nothing" said Nadal, who beat Roger Federer in a five-set final a year ago. "I focussed all the time on moving well.
"Reaching quarterfinals is good for my confidence," said the player whose last title came in Rome last May. "It will be tough against Andy, but I"m here to try and win.
"I'll try to be aggressive with my forehand and keep him behind the baseline. Otherwise, I hope I will have a good flight home."

Fifth-seeded Murray has finally passed the fourth round, where he stalled for two of the past three years. He showed maturity as he eased through in just over two hours despite 14 aces and 59 winners from the 2.05-metre American Isner.

"He's got one of the best serves in the game," said Murray. "But you have to get used to the height (from which the ball arrives).

"Obviously certain things are similar to playing Karlovic, whom I've played a few times. John doesn't really serve and volley much, he plays a bit more from the baseline. And he's got more variety on his serve."

The Scot called the first set - where he saved a set point - the key to victory.
"It was very important. He may have been a bit tired, winning in Auckland (last week), having long matches and also playing doubles. I'm happy to go through."
Murray's win was his tenth at the event leaving him 7-1 for the season.

On the women's side, Nadia Petrova continued the Melbourne disappointment for third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in a Russian-only match, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. China's Zheng Jie beat Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine 7-6(5), 6-4.

"I give credit to her," said Kuznetsova of Petrova, who humbled US Open winner Kim Clijsters 48 hours earlier. "It's the best I seen her play last two years.

"I didn't deserve to win because I was not playing good enough. I was doing too many unforced errors. I didn't serve well, I was just struggling to find my game.

"Australia is always hard for me.  It's the first Grand Slam of the year, first part of the year. I only played a few matches, I couldn't manage. I still couldn't find my rhythm

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