Australian Open 2021 Results: Winners, Scores, Stats from Sunday's BracketFebruary 14, 2021
The grimaces that painted Novak Djokovic's face as he lunged for a ball or slid across the baseline reflected a double-tough athlete determined to win a championship despite an oblique injury that called into question his ability to compete effectively.
Across the court, Milos Raonic showed no emotion, never letting his opponent know where he was at mentally as he battled the world's top-ranked player in the round of 16. He methodically worked his way through each match, answering Djoker's first-set victory with his own in the second.
This despite a lower-leg injury of his own that the trainer was called to check on early in the match.
Djokovic gutted out a second win in the third set and took a 5-4 lead in the fourth after Raonic fired a forehand shot into the net. He would not relinquish it, giving him his 300th Grand Slam victory.
The gritty performance set up Djokovic for a quarterfinal showdown with No. 6 Alexander Zverev and wrapped up a day of dramatic close calls for the sport's top women's players.
Aslan Karatsev def. No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime, 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov def. No. 3 Dominic Thiem, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0
No. 6 Alexander Zverev def. No. 23 Dusan Lajovic, 6-4, 7-5 (5), 6-3
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 14 Milos Raonic, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov stunned 2020 U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem and the tennis world Sunday with a straight-sets win, blanking the third-ranked Austrian in the third. It was shocking domination of one of the best players in the world, who was fresh off a five-set thriller against Nick Kyrgios.
Thiem cited some physical issues while speaking after the match, saying, "I'm not a machine. I'd like to be."
He stated that he did not want to use the physical limitations as excuses, only to lean further into them moments later. "As soon as you're not at 100 percent at this level, then results like this come up, and that's exactly what happened today," he said, per Eurosport.
Dimitrov will have the opportunity to continue his impressive run in the quarterfinals when he battles the unseeded Aslan Karatsev, himself fresh off an upset of world No. 2 Felix Auger-Aliassime.
No. 3 Naomi Osaka def. No. 14 Garbine Muguruza, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Su-Wei Hsieh def. No. 19 Marketa Vondrousova, 6-4, 6-2
No. 10 Serena Williams def. No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
No. 2 Simona Halep def. No. 15 Iga Swiatek, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
In order to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament, Naomi Osaka not only had to overcome fellow former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza, but she also had to come from behind to do it.
The 23-year-old dropped the first set 4-6 before battling back and winning the final two sets to continue her run in Melbourne. The win was Osaka's 18th consecutive victory and has her in the position to win a second straight Grand Slam.
It was anything but easy, as Osaka acknowledged after the match: "In the stressful points, I feel like I just had to go within myself."
Osaka saved match point twice before going on a four-match run to preserve her title aspirations. She spoke of her growth and evolution as a player following the win, per WTA Tennis:
"For me, I feel like I'm very happy with myself for the way I overcame the match. I think maybe a year ago - definitely a year ago - I probably wouldn't have won this match. There are so many things that I was thinking about on the court that just would have blocked me from trying to win the match or trying to problem solve."
Osaka will meet unranked Su-Wei Hsieh next.
Serena Williams, the greatest to ever play the game, upset No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka. Her first-set defense set the tone for the match and was key to her 6-4 win there. She would overcome a disappointing second set and put her opponent away to advance.
"I just felt like even games that I lost, I was so close to winning," she told reporters. "Not all games, but probably most of those games. I just needed to play better on the big points. I knew that I could. I still hadn't reached my peak. I was like, ‘OK, Serena, you got this, just keep going.'"
Williams has a date with No. 2 Simona Halep who, like Osaka, fought back from a first-set loss to win her fourth-round match.