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Australian Open diary: Monday January 24

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Originally published on: 24/01/11 07:18

Dolgo rolls on

Just in case his five-set victory over 2008 finalist and 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wasn’t a big enough shock, Alexandr Dolgopolov went nine steps better on Monday, taking out fourth seed Robin Soderling in another five set battle on Rod Laver Arena. The 22-year-old Ukrainian – son of former ATP Pro Oleksandr – lost the first set limply, then found his footing to take a 2-1 lead, and though he surrendered the fourth set, raced past the Swede in a whirl of lurid green in the fifth to see out a 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-2 triumph.
 
Few might have backed Dolgopolov to reach the last 16 before the Melbourne slam, but it’s definitely been coming. He achieved career-best Grand Slam runs in 2010 (third round on his favoured clay at the French Open, second round at Wimbledon and first round at the US Open), and he’s been preparing Down Under for the Australian summer swing with Aussie coach Jack Reader since December 5. It’s certainly paid off – earning him a last 16 spot in Brisbane (where he was denied by Andy Roddick) a run to the quarter-finals in Sydney and now a last eight clash with Andy Murray in Melbourne.
 
Tipped to trouble the Scot, Dolgopolov isn’t resting on his laurels after exceeding expectations. “Every match is different,” he said. “I’m very happy I won today. I need to forget about this match and go into the next round. It’s a good run but now I can make it even better.”
 
On his part, Murray secured his quarter-final spot after a straightforward 6-3 6-1 6-1 triumph over Jurgen Melzer in just an hour and 44 minutes, and admitted that his next opponent had a “very unorthodox” game.
 
“I’ve played him once before,” said the Scot of Dolgopolov. “He’s got a very unorthodox game, very different to most of the guys on tour. [But] he’s playing well, taking chances.”
 
Raonic run ends
David Ferrer ended the run of world No.152 Milos Raonic on Hisense Arena. The 20-year-old Canadian had racked up some big wins in the Melbourne sun – beating Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny to reach the fourth round – but seventh seed Ferrer rallied back from the loss of the opening set to put an end to his dream run, rounding out a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 win. As a result, the Spaniard secured a likely (depending on how Marin Cilic shapes up) quarter-final with compatriot Rafael Nadal.
 
And in the women’s draw…
Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Shuai Peng in three sets to set up a likely clash with Kim Clijsters (unless Ekaterina Makarova has anything to do with it), while Vera Zvonareva proved too strong for Czech player Iveta Benesova. The world No.2 will meet Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals after the Czech recovered from losing the first set to defeat Flavia Pennetta in three. “You won the first set, what happened after that?” the Italian was asked in her post match press conference, to which she curtly replied: “she won the second and the third.” Quite.

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