Kerber curbed, Murray slayed
Both world No. 1s crash out of Australian Open at the Round of 16
World No. 1s Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were both booted out of the Australian Open yesterday.
Murray was stunned by 50th-ranked serve-and-volley specialist Mischa Zverev in four sets before Kerber, the women's title-holder, tamely succumbed 6-2, 6-3 to Coco Vandeweghe.
This is only the third time in the Open era, after the 2004 French Open and the 2001 Wimbledon, that both the men's and women's top seeds had lost before the quarter-finals in the same Slam.
The unpredictable results, following six-time champion Novak Djokovic's stunning loss in the second round, opened the door to a host of challengers - with Roger Federer leading the charge.
The 35-year-old Swiss, who won the last of his record 17 Slam titles in 2012, fought to a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori to book a quarter-final meeting with Zverev.
Murray, 29, had been the hot favourite after Djokovic's shock exit, but the Briton lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to Zverev to extend his wait for a first Melbourne title.
The Briton was never expected to be troubled by the German, who has never won an ATP title, but he suffered his earliest Melbourne departure in eight years.
It isn't since the 2004 French Open that the top two men's seeds have gone out before the quarter-finals, and for Murray, a five-time losing finalist, it meant yet more Melbourne misery.
"I've had tough losses in my career in the past. I've come back from them. This is a tough one," Murray said.
"I'm sure I'll come back okay from it. But, right now, I'm obviously very down..."
Zverev, a former junior rival of Murray's, stretched to a series of elastic volleys to frustrate the Scot, coming to the net 118 times as he reached his first Major quarter-final.
"I was like in a little coma, just serving and volleying my way through it. There were a few points where I didn't know how I pulled it off but somehow I made it," he said.
Kerber's maiden Grand Slam title defence, and first major tournament as world No. 1, ended poorly as she came off distinctly second-best to the aggressive Vandeweghe.
The unseeded American broke Kerber's serve four times and was on top at the net and from the baseline as she grabbed her first win over a world No. 1.
"It was a tough match and, of course, I'm disappointed. But I was not feeling the ball at all tonight," said Kerber.
"My preparation was like I wanted and everything was fine. I came here to play good tennis... but, you have good days and bad days."
In the quarter-finals, Vandeweghe will face French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. - WIRE SERVICES