Qualifier Yastremska reaches quarterfinals on fairytale run

Qualifier Yastremska reaches quarterfinals on fairytale run

Djokovic, Sabalenka lead Melbourne quarterfinalists

MELBOURNE — Qualifier Dayana Yastremska continued her fairytale run into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday with a 7-6(6) 6-4 upset of twice former champion and 18th seed Victoria Azarenka.

The Ukrainian world number 93, who stunned Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the first round, had to fight hard but was rewarded for her aggression with 38 winners to forge on into a half of the draw devoid of top 10 seeds.

“I feel like my heart is going to jump out of my body,” the 23-year-old said after the biggest win of her career. “I was losing the tiebreak, I was losing the second set, I was always felt like I was running behind the train. But I think I’m a little bit of a fighter so that’s why I won this match.”

In a punishing baseline battle with virtually no net play, Ms. Yastremska got the first of the six breaks of serve in the opening set only for Ms. Azarenka to rattle off the next four games to edge in front.

Ms. Azarenka, back-to-back champion in 2012-2013 and a Melbourne semifinalist last year, served for the set but Ms. Yastremska kept up the pressure through five deuces and finally converted her fourth break point to force a tiebreak. The tiebreak was just as tight but the Ukrainian sealed it with her 21st winner, a blistering forehand that was just too fast and too deep for 34-year-old Ms. Azarenka.

Both players took lengthy bathroom breaks after the first set and Belarusian Azarenka came out firing, racing to a 3-0 lead almost before Ms. Yastremska had time to catch her breath.

The Ukrainian stalled Ms. Azarenka’s progress and then went back on the attack, finding her rasping winners again to win five straight games. She held her nerve serving for the match two games later, lashing across one more big backhand to set up a meeting with Czech world number 50 Linda Noskova in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Novak Djokovic flirted with a rare “triple bagel” and Aryna Sabalenka produced yet another powerful performance as the defending champions swept into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

American fourth seed Coco Gauff also rattled through her match in double quick time and while she was only on court for an hour, the US Open champion showed she has all the weapons to win a second Grand Slam title.

Jannik Sinner, the men’s fourth seed, got through a tough fourth round clash in three sets to underline his title credentials but last year’s losing finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was ousted by Taylor Fritz.

Mr. Djokovic, playing a rare daytime match, blanked Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the opening two sets and threatened to become only the sixth player to win 6-0 6-0 6-0 in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

Mr. Djokovic will meet Fritz in his 58th Grand Slam quarterfinal — a record the world number one now shares with Roger Federer — as he seeks a record 25th major singles title.

The American played an excellent match to beat Greek seventh seed Mr. Tsitsipas 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3 6-3 but will take an 0-8 record into his first Australian Open quarterfinal.

Reigning US Open champion Ms. Gauff outclassed Magdalena Frech 6-1 6-2 in only 63 minutes for her ninth straight victory but was not at all concerned that she might be undercooked for the business end of the tournament.

Barbora Krejcikova is the only other top 10 seed left in the women’s draw and the Czech is certainly battle-hardened after giving up the opening set in three of her four matches this year

Next up for Mr. Sinner is Andrey Rublev, who ended Australia’s interest in the singles draws with victory over Alex de Minaur in a five-set evening thriller on Rod Laver Arena.

The fifth-seeded Russian and 10th-seeded local went toe-to-toe for more than four hours before Rublev got over the line 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 to reach the last eight for the third time. — Reuters