From the Baseline: Australian Open day eight

By Michael Burgess in Melbourne

Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo / Getty Images
Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo / Getty Images

Hero of the day: Alexandr Dolgopolov. The unseeded Ukrainian, who used to do computer programming and designed an online game for fun with his friends, gave a spectacular performance to nullify fourth seed Robin Soderling. The Swede regularly served over 200km/h but Dolgopolov was equal to the task and becomes the first man to make the quarter-finals on his debut at the Australian Open since 1998.

Villain of the day: Not easy to nominate in a day full of great performances, but perhaps Croatian Marin Cilic. The Croatian is a fantastic player - who has the potential to be great - but is already catching the Andy Roddick affliction of making excuses, especially about the conditions. Like Roddick regularly does, Cilic attributed some of the blame for his performance on less than ideal weather conditions, which made the ball bounce lower. Nadal disputed this, saying a lower bounce would suit the Croatian anyway. Regardless, Cilic has to learn from Nadal and Roger Federer who NEVER make excuses based on conditions after a loss.

Match of the day: The Dolgopolov - Soderling match had its moments, as did the Petra Kvitova - Flavia Pennetta clash but for all round drama the Ferrer vs Raonic encounter had it all. The young gun versus the relative veteran and a literal David versus Golitah contest with the Spanish player standing 1.79m and the Canadian near two metres.

Shot of the day: Nadal came up with a few beauties, but none more inspiring that a half-volleyed forehand played just inside the baseline that cut the line beautifully past a surprised Cilic.

Quote of the day: "We used to listen to him on cassettes when we drove down from Scotland to England. He's a very funny guy. I might try and go to see him tonight if I have time." - Andy Murray on meeting Billy Connolly post-match.

Quote of the day (2): "I've not the right person to say. I always [see] myself as so-so. But what do you think? Do you like it? - Rafa Nadal turns the tables on a female Australian reporter, who asked if he found himself 'sexy' in the new Armani campaign.

Quote of the day (3): "Can I have more turkey on that sandwich. No, lots more please... and an extremely hot Cappuccino" - A charming female ESPN journalists gets very assertive in the media cafe.
Maybe we can blame it on the long days but it was beautifully rude and caustic in the extreme. Along with her temper she wore a wedding ring. Poor bugger.

Stat of the day: Roger Federer faces compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in Tuesday's quarter-final. The last time a Swiss player progressed further than Roger Federer at a Grand Slam event was at Wimbledon in 2002, where Federer was dumped out in the first round and a trio of Swiss went on.

Foodwatch: For a strange reason opted for the bean salad (A$11.00) - neither filling nor tasty so a disastrous choice all round. The day was rescued somewhat with the discovery of gluten free but chocolate covered cookies ($3.30) which were sensational.

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