Melbourne : Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray marched into the men’s singles quarterfinals while defending champion Victoria Azarenka breezed past America’s Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 and will face next the winner between Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbine Muguruza.
In the men’s singles, sixth seed Federer packed off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes, reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the 11th consecutive year.
The Swiss showed his class against a tought opponent, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Andy Murray, who needed four sets to dispatch lucky loser Stephane Robert of France 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 in two hours and 42 minutes.
Despite beating Federer at Roland Garros last year, Tsonga couldn’t get close to the 17-time grand slam champion who produced his most impressive showing of the championship and provided evidence he can be a threat to the likes of Nadal, Murray and Djokovic.
“It’s been a different type of tournament,” said Federer. “It’s been fun, it’s been a good ride. I thought I played really well tonight. You’ve got to bring your best game (against Tsonga), because he dictates play a lot. I think I did a good job dictating play.”
Nadal made through to the quarterfinal overcoming 16th seed Kei Nishikori 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). He next faces Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Nishikori was in fine form but the powerful Spaniard was too much for the Japanese, eventually taking a long and tough three-setter which lasted over three hours.
Dimitrov, the 22-year-old 22nd seed, showed character beyond his years to overcome the unseeded Spaniard Bautista-Agut 6-3, 3-6 ,6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes.
Dimitrov’s serve was a major asset, slamming 11 aces with the fastest at 219kph.