Friday, 19 January 2018 07:20 AM GMT
Australian Open Day 5: Dimitrov battles through as Edmund flies the flag

Dimitrov wins generation game

Time flies, right Grigor?

Having once played the role of ‘next big thing’, Dimitrov today found himself having to fend off one of the sport's latest hopes in Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

And fend him off he did, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a contest of fluctuating momentum.

Indeed, in the second set, Rublev stormed back from 4-2 down, reeling off four games in a row to win 6-4.

Then, in the third, he got a taste of his own medicine, losing the set from 4-2 up, crucially double faulting when facing break point at 4-4.

Double faults would prove to be something of a central theme in the encounter, with the pair combing to hit an astonishing 26 in all, a tally which goes some way to explaining the topsy-turvy nature of the match.

In truth, neither player would consider this among their best performances, although Rublev certainly looked at home at this level.

But just as he did against Mackenzie Mcdonald in the second round, Dimitrov found a way to win, breaking at 3-3 and maintaining his advantage to move into the fourth round.

Kyle flies the flag

For someone flying solo, Kyle Edmund is doing a sterling job of shouldering British hopes at the Australian Open.

The only remaining Briton left in either singles draw, Edmund today reached the fourth round after battling back from two sets to one down against Nikoloz Basilashvili, coming through 7-6(0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 after three hours and 34 minutes.

With temperatures approaching 40°C and a strong breeze gusting around Melbourne Park, both men were competing in conditions akin to the inside of a giant hairdryer.

And Edmund’s challenge looked to have wilted when his form dipped rapidly after being a set and break up. Leaking errors off his forehand wing, the world No.49 lost seven straight games as Basilashvili, who appeared to be dealing with the heat better, assumed control.

But Edmund mounted an admirable comeback, with the turning point coming early on in the fourth set during a 20 minute game on Basilashvili’s serve. Featuring 15 deuces and eight break points, Edmund finally broke through, and would go on to bagel his spent opponent to force a decider.

Given the soaring temperatures, the fact that the fifth set was a contest of any sort was a credit to both men. Edmund saw a number of break point opportunities go begging - he would convert just seven of 27 in all - but sealed victory when his Georgian opponent dragged a backhand wide.

The result means Edmund has matched his best ever run at a Grand Slam, and a first major quarter-final could be forthcoming too, with the 23-year-old set to face Andreas Seppi or Ivo Karlovic next.

Svitolina ends teenage dream

Elina Svitolina underlined her title credentials with a 6-2, 6-2 victory 15-year-old compatriot Marta Kostyuk, bringing an end to the teenager's fairtyale run at the Australian Open. 

Surprinsingly, it was the youngster who made the more accomplished start, breaking Svitolina's serve in the opening game.

But the No.4 seed quickly recalibrated with an immediate break back, and was a model of efficiency and consistency from then on as she wrapped up the encounter in less than an hour.

Despite admitting to tears after the match, Kostyuk was able to laugh when asked what she had learned from the encounter.

“How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson, so I got it for free,” she joked

The bookmaker’s favourite, Svitolina’s chances have only been enhanced by what has become a very open section of the draw. The remaining players in her quarter have a combined ranking of 248, with the highest of those being world No.37 Elise Mertens.

Best tweet

We all know Andy Murray is back home and missing the Australian Open, but perhaps we didn't quite realise the extent of it. Note the timestamp on his congratulatory tweet to Kyle Edmund - has he been staying up to watch the tournament all night?

Shot of the Day

Rublev may have bowed out of the tournament, but he showcased his talents with shots like this one...