Sweet revenge for Murray as old guard hold firm

Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:09am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Dressed in black and oozing menace, Andy Murray extracted sweet revenge by felling Wimbledon nemesis Grigor Dimitrov in a late-night thriller as the old guard stood firm to march into the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.

Former champions Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova sailed into the last eight but will share the limelight with Murray's next opponent Nick Kyrgios, a local gatecrasher who roared to a famous five-set victory over Roger Federer-slayer Andreas Seppi.

Dimitrov ended Murray's title defense at his home grand slam last season and the Rod Laver Arena crackled with tension as the pair slugged out a midnight classic.

Murray won 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 and Dimitrov destroyed his racquet in disgust after blowing a 5-2 lead in the fourth set to allow the Briton to serve for the match.

The ending was cruel for Dimitrov but well-earned for Murray, as the Scot punched a cross-court forehand into the tape on match point, with the ball dropping over to send the Bulgarian out.

"I think I got quite lucky at the end, a few net cords went my way, that was the difference really," the Scot told reporters. "The momentum was switching both ways all the time."

Boasting a perfect 10-0 record over Australians, Murray will battle the home crowd as well as Kyrgios when the pair clash in two days' time.

Third seed Nadal continued his brilliant comeback from a 2014 season ravaged by injury and illness, drawing the sting from big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in a hard-fought first set before crushing him 7-5 6-1 6-4.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain stretches to hit a return to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria