Melbourne, Australia – Fourth seed Robin Soderling and No. 5 seed Andy Murray were both straight-set winners in the third round Saturday at the Australian Open.
The Swede Soderling, who has reached the quarterfinals or better at every Grand Slam event except the Australian Open, advanced with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Czech Jan Hernych. It was his eighth consecutive match victory, and all of his first three matches thus far here have gone the minimum number of sets.
"Physically I feel very good," Soderling said. "I haven't spent too many hours on court yet and I'm already in the fourth round, which is very good. So I think for me it's a little bit of an advantage."
Murray reached the round of 16 here for the fourth time as the Scotsman rolled to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 triumph over 32nd seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. The runner-up here to Roger Federer last year, Murray moved on by firing 10 aces and took advantage of 31 unforced errors from his opponent.
Seventh-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer defeated Richard Berankis of Lithuania, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; and Canadian Milos Raonic upset 10th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. A qualifier, Raonic came into this tournament ranked 152nd. Because of his Saturday win, the 20-year-old Raonic, who was born in Montenegro before moving to Canada in 1994, is projected to break into the top 100 for the first time.
In another shocker, Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov rallied to upend 13th- seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. Dolgopolov becomes the second Ukrainian player through to the round of 16 at a Grand Slam singles event. Andrei Medvedev was the only other Ukrainian to reach the last 16, most recently at the 2000 French Open. Tsonga was the runner-up here in 2008.
The next challenge for Alexandr Dolgopolov will be Soderling, while Raonic challenges Ferrer.
The highlight match of Saturday comes during the night session when top-seeded Rafael Nadal, the 2009 champion, tries to stay on course for a fourth straight Grand Slam title. Nadal will face 18-year-old Aussie wildcard Bernard Tomic
The odds for Tomic are overwhelming. The last Australian man to beat the world No. 1 at tour-level was Mark Philippoussis, who defeated Andre Agassi in the round of 16 at 2003 Wimbledon. Tomic, ranked 199th, is also bidding to become the lowest ranked player to defeat the world No. 1 at a Grand Slam event since 1985. Not only that, but Nadal is currently on a 23-match Grand Slam winning streak - his longest-ever at the majors. This puts him in sixth place on the list of longest Grand Slam winning streaks in the Open Era, behind Rod Laver (29), Federer (2 streaks of 27), Jimmy Connors (25) and Pete Sampras (25).