Robin Soderling crashes out of Australian Open
Robin Soderling denied he had underestimated Alexandr Dolgopolov after being dumped out of the Australian Open by the Ukrainian today.
World number four Soderling was beaten more convincingly than the 1-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-2 scoreline suggests and had no excuses afterwards as Dolgopolov advanced to a last-eight meeting with Andy Murray, who thrashed Jurgen Melzer for the loss of just five games.
Dolgopolov had never been beyond the third round of a major before but Swede Soderling was adamant he was not caught out by the quality of the 22-year-old's game.
He said: "I never underestimate anyone. I just didn't feel good and didn't play well enough. Simple as that.
"I struggled throughout the whole match. I won the first set, yeah, but I didn't win it because I played well. He wasn't on it at the start.
"Then he started to play much better, which I didn't.
"He's a good player. He has a great backhand and moves well. He's a great counter-puncher and has a good chance to do really well."
Soderling's exit meant he was left to reflect on another disappointing Australian Open campaign. He had never before got past the second round in Melbourne but that was scant consolation for a player many observers felt could challenge for the title.
"I have struggled many times in this tournament," he said. "But I made it to the fourth round here. At least it's much better than previous years.
"I fought through three matches which I am very proud of but I never felt that I played really well, which you need to, especially in a grand slam."
Dolgopolov, whose father was the coach of Andrei Medvedev - a top-five player in the mid-90s - and whose mother was a European Gymnastics champion, was delighted to have clinched what he admitted was the best win of his burgeoning career.
"Yes, for sure. I think it's the first time I have won two five-setters in a row. I feel good physically and really happy to have got the win," he said.
Murray was equally impressive in his 6-3 6-1 6-1 demolition of Melzer.
The Austrian was expected to provide Murray with his first serious test of the tournament but he proved no match for the Scot who has yet to drop a set in Melbourne as he bids to land his first grand slam title.
Murray produced a mature, controlled performance, contrasting sharply with that offered by Melzer, the Austrian spraying the ball all over Rod Laver Arena as his all-or-nothing game was exposed.
Afterwards he admitted he had been surprised at the ease with which he had won.
He said: Yes, he had a good year on tour last year, I was surprised but I played a great match.
"I am hitting the ball well right now and have played four good matches so far."
He accepts it is likely to get tougher against Dolgopolov, however.
"I have known him quite a while and played him when we were young in Davis Cup. He is unorthodox but is a tough player," added Murray.
David Ferrer also made it into the last eight after ending the run of Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic.
Raonic, who beat seeds Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny in his two previous matches, was no match for the seventh-seeded Spaniard, Ferrer winning 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash against either Rafael Nadal or Marin Cilic.
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