Dimitrov holds off Kyrgios as wait for home champion goes on

Dimitrov holds off Kyrgios as wait for home champion goes on

Grigor Dimitrov booked an Australian Open quarter-final meeting with Kyle Edmund after overcoming home hope Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Sunday. The Bulgarian, seeded third at Melbourne Park, prevailed 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in a gripping encounter played in front of a partisan crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

Both men were close to their peak form, Kyrgios serving superbly, only to crack at a couple of key junctures as the tension mounted. Not since Mark Edmondson in 1976 has the Australian Open seen a home men's champion and the wait goes on as Kyrgios – whose best effort at this slam is his quarter-final appearance in 2015 – bowed out.

Dimitrov was a beaten semi-finalist last year and the world number three will be fancied to at least repeat that feat this time around as he prepares to take on Briton Edmund, for whom Tuesday's clash will represent a maiden appearance in the last eight of a major tournament.

Kyrgios' serve was the first to come under real pressure in game six as he saved three break points – two with forehand winners either side of an ace. A well-placed volley handed Dimitrov the advantage in the tie-break, which he built upon as Kyrgios went long and the Australian's double-fault handed his opponent the opening set.

Kyrgios' miscued volley gave his rival a break at 4-3 in the second and Dimitrov had set point three games later before Kyrgios raised the roof by forcing a backhand error to get it back on serve. Once again Dimitrov kept his cool in the breaker, however, as a stunning pick-up on set point made Kyrgios hit long, leaving him with a mountain to climb.

Kyrgios summoned his reserves, however, as a wide Dimitrov forehand gave the 17th seed the advantage at 3-2 in the third and a resounding hold to love, featuring two thumping aces, sealed the set.

Both men saved break points with aces in the early stages of the fourth – Kyrgios doing so again at 3-4 30-40, only to subsequently send a simple smash into the net. That basic error did not prove immediately costly as Dimitrov wilted with the finish line in sight and Kyrgios sent a backhand winner up the line to hit back.

But in the tie-break, the turning point arrived as Kyrgios netted a straightforward forehand, Dimitrov sealing the victory in fitting fashion with an outstanding cross-court winner that flew past Kyrgios as he approached the net.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Dimitrov [3] bt Kyrgios [17] 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-4)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Dimitrov – 64/26
Kyrgios – 76/55

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 
Dimitrov – 16/7
Kyrgios – 36/7

BREAK POINTS WON 
Dimitrov – 2/9
Kyrgios – 3/5

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Dimitrov – 70
Kyrgios – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Dimitrov – 81/40
Kyrgios – 79/50

TOTAL POINTS 
Dimitrov – 157
Kyrgios – 156