Denis Shapovalov is a player with a lot of potential. When he is on, it’s hard to stop him. Rafael Nadal

Down to the last eight

By Roger Childs

It’s now down to the last eight in the singles and, as expected, the first four rounds have made mockery of the seedings. Out of the top ten on the men’s side Zverev (3), Rublev (5), Rudd (7) and Hurkcaz (10) are gone while among the women four of the top ten seeds have been eliminated — Sabalenka, Muguruza, Sakkari and Kontaveit. 

The quarter-finalists are a mix of highly experienced players and talented youngsters. Among the men Jannik Sinner is 20, Felix Auger–Aliassime is 21 and Shapovalov is 22. Polish number one Iga Swiatek is the youngest women’s finalist aged 20. With the absence of recent super-stars such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the up and comers are pushing hard to win their first grand slam.

Tight, entertaining matches

The crowds at Melbourne Park have certainly had their money’s worth so far. They have seen plenty of quality tennis and a number of top seeds have had to work very hard to move into the last eight. The men’s favourite, top seed Russian Daniil Mevedev had to pull out all the stops to beat Maxime Cressy from the U.S. 6-2 7-6 6-7 7-5, and fourth seed Stephanos Tsitsipas needed all his skill and fitness to  overcome American Taylor Fritz 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4.

All four of Monday’s fourth round matches in the women’s draw went to three sets and the closest match saw Estonian Kaia Kanepi eliminate second seed Aryna Sabalenka 5-7. 6-2 7-6.

Prospects for the titles

Australian Ash Barty is the number one seed and has not dropped a set in the first four rounds. She remains the favourite. Others possible finalists are Madison Keyes and Iga Świątek. However as with every grand slam, it is hard to pick winners and punters could have made huge money at the US Open selecting two unseeded players for the final and the first qualifier in tennis history – Emma Raducanu – as the winner.

In the men’s competition top seed Daniil Medvedev and U.S. Open winner, remains the favourite, however, Rafael Nadal will be working hard to win his 21st grand slam. However, he knows that he has a challenging quarter final on his hands against Canadian Denis Shapovalov who upset third seed Alexander Zverev in a straight sets triumph in the fourth round. Greek Stephanos Tsitsipas is likely to make the semi-finals at least. 

There is plenty of exciting tennis to come and as the field narrows the quality of play is bound to increase.