Hello everybody and welcome to live coverage of the last quarter-final of the men’s singles draw of this Australian Open. World No 1 Rafael Nadal takes on fifth seed Dominic Thiem at 7.30pm local time (8.30am GMT).
When Australia’s apocalyptic skies dominated the news cycle on the eve of the year’s first grand slam there was a sense of foreboding around Melbourne Park. Since then the skies have cleared and events on court have proceeded in an orderly fashion.
In the men’s draw, of the five men left standing only one – Alexander Zverev – is not ranked among the top five, but even he is still seeded seven, and arrived at last year’s event ranked fourth. The pair of favourites, Nadal and Novak Djokovic, have dropped just one set apiece.
Fortunately Roger Federer has been on hand to provide enough drama to make this a memorable championship. If tonight’s match is half as engrossing as Federer’s miraculous escape from the clutches of Tennys Sandgren yesterday then we are in for a treat.
Nadal has grown into his Australian summer after looking below par during the ATP Cup. His trademark steely determination was on display against Nick Kyrgios in round four.
Thiem was taken the distance by wildcard Alex Bolt in round two. Since then he has hit his straps and looked particularly impressive last time out against the dangerous Gael Monfils. This is the furthest the Austrian has even journeyed at this event.
Both men are at home on clay, not hard courts, so expect plenty of long baseline exchanges. The Australian sun has shone brightly today so any war of attrition suits Zverev, who awaits in the semi-final after he overcame a sluggish start to down Stan Wawrinka earlier.