Little-known pair Arthur Cazaux and Nuno Borges’ fairytale runs in Melbourne have been cut short as the Australian Open enters its second week. Follow live below!
Borges fell in four sets to world No.3 Daniil Medvedev while Cazaux dropped a three-setter to world No.9 Hubert Hurkacz. The No.2 seed, Carlos Alcaraz, is in action in the night session.
But the big talking point on day nine was the women’s draw where utter chaos has ensured an almost totally-unknown player will make the Australian Open final.
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Ruthless Rublev ruins Aussie hopes | 00:48
FOURTH ROUND CLASH HALTED BY PALESTINE PROTEST
Play between Alexander Zverev and Cameron Norrie was halted after a patron tossed pieces of paper protesting Israel’s war in Gaza which has killed over 25,000 Palestinians.
The individual, wearing a mask, hat and sunglasses, was quickly escorted out of the venue by two fans who were nearby after throwing messages which read writing “Free Palestine” and “war crimes and genocide” onto Margaret Court Arena.
The incident occurred during the third set of sixth seed Zverev and 19th seed Norrie’s fourth round encounter.
The pair traded sets with the Brit breaking Zverev’s serve at 4-5 in the fourth to ensure a decider, 7-5 3-6 6-3 4-6.
Through four sets each player had won 117 points, and so it was fitting as Zverev broke in the opening game of the fifth, and then Norrie broke right back.
Zverev has been accused by multiple ex-partners of domestic abuse and is facing a trial in Germany in May.
The Australian Open has made efforts not to promote Zverev during the tournament on their social media, unless required, in contrast to the ATP Tour and the new Netflix series Break Point choosing to spotlight the 26-year-old.
The lack of a domestic violence policy on tour has allowed Zverev to continue playing despite multiple sets of allegations and a penalty order laid upon him by the German legal system, which is used when the courts believe a case is so strong it does not need to be defended in court (unless the accused asks for a trial, as Zverev has).
STAR IN TEARY EXIT AMID MORE WOMEN’S CHAOS
Elina Svitolina was reduced to tears after she was forced to retire with an injury just three games into the first set of her fourth round clash against Linda Noskova.
Svitolina, the No. 19 seed, took a medical timeout after the second game due to a serious back injury.
Unfortunately for the Ukrainian, she lasted just one more game before the pain became unbearable and was forced to retire from the contest.
“I got a spasm, or I don’t know exactly what it is, but like shooting pain in the first game, the last two points. Yeah, couldn’t do anything. Completely locked my back,” she later explained.
“Bad, yeah. It really locked. My low back completely locked. So, yeah, I’m really in pain even walking, turning. I cannot move side-to-side. Yeah, very strange.”
It was not the way Noskova had hoped to win and send her well wishes in the direction of the former world No.3.
“I feel sorry for Elina, I hope she gets soon very well,” Noskova said in her post-match interview.
“We’ll just see what happens next round.”
Noskova entered the contest on the back of the biggest win of her career having stunned No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek.
Meanwhile on Rod Laver Arena Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska created more women’s chaos with an upset of two-time champion and 18th seed Victoria Azarenka.
Recovering from a break down in the second set, Yastremska’s 7-6(6) 6-4 win guarantees there’ll be a first-time grand slam finalist at Melbourne Park this year.
Yastremska and Noskova will face off for one spot in the semi-finals, where they’ll play one of Anna Kalinskaya, 12th seed Qinwen Zheng or Oceane Dodin.
Kalinskaya downed 26th seed Jasmine Paolini on Monday evening while Zheng and Dodin face off in the second match of the Rod Laver Arena night session.
Yastremska was world No.21 at one stage before a provisional doping suspension in early 2021, which was eventually overturned. She and Zheng are the only players with any sort of record in the their half of the draw that suggested a grand slam final was achievable, while teen Noskova was viewed as a couple of years away at least.
But one of Yastremska, Noskova, Kalinskaya, Zheng or Dodin will make the final, where Aryna Sabalenka or Coco Gauff will likely await.
DJOKER DUMPED AGAIN FROM NIGHT SESSION
It’ll take more than a timeslot change to stop Novak Djokovic from being the Australian Open favourite – but it’s still strange to see the tournament not bowing to his whims.
The world No.1 has again been scheduled in the day session for his quarter-final against Taylor Fritz on Tuesday, after a 15-match streak of him playing in primetime on Rod Laver Arena was broken with his fourth-round win over Adrian Mannarino.
The decision may be to allow fifth seed Andrey Rublev more time to recover from his five-set win over Alex de Minaur, as he will face fourth seed Jannik Sinner in the second night match – following Aryna Sabalenka’s battle with Barbora Krejcikova.
But it also may suggest tournament organisers don’t think Fritz, who has never beaten Djokovic, will put up much of a fight.
Remarkably it will be the first time since 2009 Djokovic has played an Australian Open quarter-final (or semi-final) in the day session.
Day 10 Rod Laver Arena schedule
Not before 1pm: Marta Kostyuk (UKR) vs No.4 Coco Gauff (USA)
Not before 2:30pm: No.1 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs No.12 Taylor Fritz (USA)
From 7pm: No.9 Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs No.2 Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
Followed by: No.4 Jannik Sinner (ITA) vs No.5 Andrey Rublev (RUS)
The Serbian quipped after his utterly dominant win over Mannarino that “the way I played today, I don’t mind playing in the day, to be honest.
“Thank you, thank you guys for showing up also.
“I know it’s early in the day, but it’s Sunday, non-working day, thank you for showing up.
“It’s no secret I love to play at 7pm, but it wasn’t bad at all today. Not too bad.”
It will be the first time Djokovic has played two consecutive day matches at Melbourne Park since the third and fourth rounds in 2020 – when Roger Federer played at night instead.
UNDERDOG DUO’S MIRACLE RUNS END
Arthur Cazaux, the French reciprocal wildcard, had never won a match at a grand slam prior to this year’s Australian Open.
And the world No.122’s spectacular run has finally ended after falling in straight sets to Polish ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz, 7-6(6) 7-6(3) 6-4.
Meanwhile Nuno Borges’ historic run as the first Portuguese player to reach the fourth round of the singles draw at the Australian Open was cut short by No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev.
The Russian double-faulted twice while serving for the opening set but still claimed it 6-3
He then double-faulted again on Borges’ first break point of the match, the Portuguese levelling things up at 4-4 in the second.
Forcing a tiebreak, Borges earned the early mini-break but lost the next three points on his serve to deliver the second set to Medvedev too, 7-6(4).
Borges then broke to begin the third set but fell apart from there, making 11 errors in the space of three games to trail 5-2. Yet he recovered to break Medvedev as the Russian served for the match, then saved two match points off his own serve before holding.
Medvedev yelled out to the referee in frustration over the crowd’s behaviour during the 5-4 game, and then double-faulted multiple times and complained towards his players’ box as he was forced to save multiple break points.
Borges still cracked his serve and closed it out to claim the third set 7-5, but Medvedev stormed home to win the fourth 6-1 and the match.
Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz is in action tonight, taking on Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic on Rod Laver Arena.
‘THAT WAS OUT’: COMMENTATOR LEFT STUNNED OVER NON-CALL
Chinese women’s doubles duo Jiang Xinyu and Hanyu Guo were left stunned as a ball that looked well over the baseline was not called.
In their women’s doubles third round clash against Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe on Sunday night, the contest was level at one game each in the third set at 30-30, with Guo on serve.
Guo and Xinyu then would have thought they’d be one point away from holding serve when a ball appeared to land well over the baseline.
Thinking the ball was out, Guo didn’t attempt to play much of a shot as the ball bounced off her racquet.
However, the electronic line judge didn’t call the ball out, meaning Dabrowski and Routliffe would go up 30-40 and have the chance to break serve.
“Oh, wow,” one commentator on Eurosport said.
The co-commentator replied: “That was out.”
Chair umpire Jaume Campistol got on the phone to figure out what was going on as he too appeared to believe the ball had gone out.
However, Campistol soon announced on the microphone that Guo had, in fact, hit the ball before it bounced.
Despite Campistol’s decision, the commentator was not convinced.
“Wow, I’d like to see a replay of that again,” the commentator said.
“Did she definitely hit it before it bounced?
“Let’s have a look back. I think that bounced.”
Although Routliffe and Dabrowski didn’t win the ensuing point, they managed to break in the third game and went on to win the match 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
MYSTERY SOLVED? DJOKOVIC’S NEW PRODUCT LIFTS LID ON INFAMOUS ‘SECRET SAUCE’
A mystery that has left tennis fans scratching their heads for years has seemingly been solved as Novak Djokovic launched a new product: electrolyte cubes.
The Serbian superstar’s remarkable fitness and ability to play high-level tennis deep in matches has been one of his hallmark qualities, but many had wondered how it was even possible.
Surely a player couldn’t be that much fitter than everyone else on the tour, right?
Tennis fans got somewhat of a clue during the 2022 French Open when Djokovic’s physio was caught on camera mixing a drink and handing it to a ballgirl to give to the world No. 1.
Renowned tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg described the scenes as “bizarre” and felt “rivals (and the public and the officials governing the sport) should get to know” what Djokovic was cosuming.
But the launch of Djokovic’s latest product has pulled back the curtain on what was in the drink.
Prior to the Australian Open, Djokovic released SILA: By Novak Djokovic, which are electrolyte cubes that do not contain any sugar or caffeine.
According to the man himself, the product had been in development for ten years before its release.
Speaking on commentary during Djokovic’s fourth round demolition of Adrian Mannarino for Nine, Jim Courier said the defending Australian Open champ was “finally letting the public in on some of his secret sauce.”
‘WORST TECHNIQUE I’VE EVER SEEN’: KYRGIOS’ HILARIOUS REVEAL ON MEDVEDEV’S JUNIOR DAYS
While Medvedev may be in the running to return to the Australian Open final after his crushing loss to Rafael Nadal in 2022, the fact he is even playing at this level in the first place is a surprise to Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios, who is working in commentary for Eurosport during the Australian Open, revealed he played Medvedev in juniors and that the Russian superstar was a very different player to the one that lifted the US Open title in 2021.
In fact, Kyrgios said that Medvedev had the “worst technique” he had “ever seen” in those early stages of his career.
“It’s crazy to see all these guys I played juniors with doing so well now, it’s awesome,” Kyrgios said.
“One guy I thought was going to be horrific, actually, was Medvedev. I played him in juniors at Roehampton and I beat him like maybe 6-3 6-3.
“I was the dominant junior and I was like ‘this guy is terrible, the worst technique I’ve ever seen’. I honestly said this guy should just give it up, there’s no way he’s going to make it work with those hits.
“And now a No. 1 in the world and a Grand Slam champion, so funny though. And he was a nutter as well, I was like ‘this guy’s crazy’.”
The ‘Scary Movie’ inside Rublev’s mind | 01:23
‘YOU’RE GOING TO DIE TODAY’: RUBLEV’S PEP TALK BEHIND EPIC WIN
With his frustrations starting to boil over, Andrey Rublev threatened to unravel on Sunday night as Alex de Minaur took back-to-back tiebreakers to go up 2-1 in their fourth round match.
But the World No.5 rallied to take the second set and then wrap up the five-set epic with a bagel, booking a quarter-final date with the in-form Jannik Sinner.
During his post-match interview with Jim Courier on Nine, Rublev gave an insight into how he won the mental battle against the relentless Australian.
“I started to tell to myself ‘you’re going to die today but you will do everything’ and somehow I started to play better and better,” Rublev said.
“I found more energy and I was able to win
“He’s one of the fastest players, the way he moves with the legs, and takes the speed, it’s crazy. You could see it was super tough to play.
“I start to feel a bit of pain there, but it’s normal after four hours with intensity like this.
“[I told myself] don’t cry, don’t start to feel sorry for yourself.”
While de Minaur ended up losing the final set 6-0 fellow Australian Kyrgios said on Eurosport that it didn’t reflect just how much of a fight he put up against an opponent who was just on another level in the end.
“What a match, I mean four hours and 20 minutes of high-intensity tennis, the level was insane,” Kyrgios said.
“I knew one of them was going to struggle physically in the fifth and it wasn’t Alex, but the start Rublev had in that fifth set was insane.
“The ball striking was incredible, the level just raised. Look it was a hell of an effort from both these guys, bitter sweet from Alex – 6-0 in the fifth doesn’t really reflect how much of a fighter he is because he didn’t just give up, he was fighting to the very end.
“But that was an insane match, not going to lie.”
DAY 9 ORDER OF PLAY (all times AEDT)
ROD LAVER ARENA
Dayana Yastremska (UKR) def No.18 Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 7-6(6) 6-4
No.3 Daniil Medvedev (RUS) def Nuno Borges (POR) 6-3 7-6(4) 5-7 6-1
From 7pm: Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) vs No.2 Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
Followed by: No.12 Qinwen Zheng (CHN) vs Oceane Dodin (FRA)
MARGARET COURT ARENA
Linda Noskova (CZE)def No.19 Elina Svitolina (UKR) 3-0 ret
No.6 Alexander Zverev (GER) vs No.19 Cameron Norrie (GBR) 7-5 3-6
JOHN CAIN ARENA
No.9 Hubert Hurkacz (POL) def Arthur Cazaux (FRA) 7-6(60 7-6(3) 6-4
No.26 Jasmine Paolini (ITA) vs Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)
Follow all the action from Day Nine of the Australian Open in our LIVE BLOG below!