Melbourne: Grigor Dimitrov swept past injury-hit Denis Istomin to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday, ending the Uzbek wildcard's fairytale run.
The Bulgarian 15th seed reached the last eight for the second time with a 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-1 win in two hours 25 minutes over Istomin, whose form fell away with an apparent back injury.
Dimitrov will face Belgian 11th seed David Goffin for a place in the semi-finals in the lower half of the draw.
Istomin, the bespectacled world number 117, showed the effects of a demanding tournament following his sensational second-round upset of six-time winner Novak Djokovic.
His game deteriorated after losing a second-set tiebreaker and he had trouble getting around the court as Dimitrov charged to victory.
"Denis deserves all the credit for an unbelievable tournament, he has been on fire and he was striking the ball so well early in the match," Dimitrov said.
"I felt well physically during the match and winning the tiebreak was a turning point. I was confident after that."
Istomin began well with a double break to sail through the opening set in 26 minutes with Dimitrov off-range with his groundstrokes, as the Uzbek threatened a fresh upset.
But Dimitrov got more into the match in the second set, winning the key tiebreaker holding four set points.
Istomin, who had been applying ice packs to his upper legs through the opening two sets, had treatment at the changeover for lower back trouble.
Dimitrov broke early in the third set as Istomin took a medical timeout for further treatment. Dimitrov broke again to take a 2-1 sets lead as Istomin's movement looked restricted.
Istomin often winced in pain as he played his shots, and he dropped his opening service in the fourth set as Dimitrov quickly wrapped up the match.
Dimitrov lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals in Melbourne three years ago and last year he fell to Roger Federer in the third round.
Dimitrov also reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 where he lost to Novak Djokovic after defeating defending champion Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.
Istomin, who qualified via the Asia wildcard play-off, beat Ivan Dodig and Pablo Carreno Busta, as well as Djokovic, to reach the fourth round, equalling his best Grand Slam result.
Goffin wears on Theim
David Goffin said he felt ready to take on the top players after he wore down Dominic Thiem to become the first Belgian man to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The 11th-seeded Goffin equalled his best Grand Slam showing by reaching the last eight with a 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-2 win over the eighth-seeded Austrian in two hours 44 minutes.
Goffin's win in the second-set tiebreaker proved crucial as he powered on to victory on Rod Laver Arena, where ambient temperatures were above 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
"I kept fighting, that was definitely key winning the second-set tiebreaker where I made some good returns," Goffin said.
"I continued to push on in the rallies and I'm really happy to win. Mentally, I'm tired."
Goffin knocked Thiem out in the third round of last year's Australian Open, before losing to the Austrian in the quarters at the French Open.
Goffin won on his second match point when Thiem netted a service return. It was the Belgian's first victory over a top-10 player at a major.
"I'm feeling more confident against the top players. I had a lot of matches before the tournament," Goffin said.
"I knew that I was able to fight and to win some matches against big guys. I knew that I had the level.
"The key was to play my best tennis in the match and not only during practice. But I'm doing more often than in the past.
"That's why I'm more confident and I win some more matches."
With inputs from AFP
Published Date: Jan 23, 2017 16:14 PM | Updated Date: Jan 23, 2017 16:14 PM