It looked as if #6 Marin Čilić’s Australian Open was over in the 3rd Round Friday night as #26 Spaniard Fernando Verdasco took the first two sets 6-4, 6-3 in dominant fashion; putting last year’s Aussie Open finalist against a wall. However, Čilić battled back to win the third set 6-1 before taking the fourth set in a tiebreaker to gain some momentum back. He would ultimately win the final frame 6-3 to take the long five-setter away from Verdasco’s clutches.
Čilić was given a favorable draw to the quarterfinals and will now play another Spaniard, #22 Bautista Agut, in the 4th Round Saturday night in Melbourne.
#31 Petra Martić got close to defeating #5 and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens but didn’t have enough in the tank, eventually losing 7-6, 7-6 in two straight tiebreaks. Petrić was up a break in the second set but couldn’t keep the momentum against a more composed Stephens. Petrić was expected to make it to the 3rd Round. She will remain ranked heading into Indian Wells in March.
#11 Borna Ćorić took care of business against unranked Serbian Filip Krajinović Saturday afternoon in Melbourne in front of a vocal Croatian crowd. After losing his first set of the tournament to Krajinović 2-6, the 22 year-old Croatian from Zagreb took control of the match and won the next three sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and will now play #28 Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the 4th Round; which is the final 16 of the tournament. Pouille needed five long sets to get past Popyrin in the 3rd Round. Before this year, Ćorić had never even won a match at the Australian Open.