No2 seed Andy Murray has been warned to expect a fight for a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals by his fourth round opponent, home crowd hope and scourge of the tennis establishment Bernard Tomic.
World No17 Tomic, who was arrested for partying in Miami last year and axed from his Davis Cup team for criticising officials, has lost all three previous matches against the Briton.
But the 6ft 5in 23-year-old, currently embroiled in a war of words with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, believes he can unsettle Murray on Monday by playing him at his own counter-punching game.
“Andy loves playing players that attack,” said Tomic. “I don’t think he likes players like John Isner and [Kevin] Anderson. You have to take the ball to him, play aggressive, but not too aggressive, and rally at the right time.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic suffered a major scare against Gilles Simon, needing four and a half hours to overcome the Frenchman in five sets and progress to a clash with seventh seed Kei Nishokori.
Federer cruised past Belgium’s David Goffin in straight sets to tee up a quarter-final against sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who saw off Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.