Day 5 at Melbourne Park saw a lot of drama and exceptional tennis for those in attendance ahead of there being no fans at Melbourne Park as the state of Victoria goes into lockdown.
Doubts over Djokovic
At two sets up, Novak Djokovic’ pathway into the fourth round looked pretty plain sailing but an abdominal injury really put the cats amongst the pigeons out on Rod Laver Arena as remarkably the American Taylor Fritz fought to level the match at two sets a piece.
With Melbourne going into a five day lockdown a ticket to Rod Laver Arena wasn’t enough for the fans to see the conclusion of Djokovic vs Fritz. Play had to be temporarily stopped with the match ticking towards midnight in the fourth set as this was of course the next day so in bizarre fashion the match had to be completed behind closed doors.
After a close few games to open a fifth set the world number one did break ahead and went onto dominate the end of the match to win 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 against Taylor Fritz but has cast doubts on his chances and his participation on Sunday saying;
“I really don’t know…Right now I know it’s a tear, definitely, of the muscle. So I don’t know if I’ll be able to recover from that in less than two days. I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m going to step on the court or not.”
But he did say “This is definitely one of the more special wins in my life”
Serena, Simona, Naomi & Muguruza continue to set the standards
The bottom half of the women’s draw continues to set the standard, the level has been next to flawless and even when things got tough for Simona Halep in her previous round match against Alja Tomljanovic the level was exceptional and fascinating to watch.
Once again they dominated to book their place in the next round.
Serena Williams 7-6 6-2 Anastasia Potapova
Simona Halep 6-1 6-3 Veronika Kudermetova
Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-1 Zarina Diyas
Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-2 Ons Jabeur
Iga Swiatek, Marketa Vondrousova and Aryna Sabalenka also continue to set the pace with their straight sets wins!
No Bagel for Hsieh Su-Wei
Hsieh Su-Wei from the Chinese Taipei is one of the most lovable characters on the tour.
The recently turned 35 year old has always been a fantastic competitor and bring soo much variety to the court which has seen her be a consistent feature in the top 100 for six of the last eight years.
Over the last few years she has history for giving top players a rough time on court and this week has already seen off Bianca Andreescu but fought off tour veteran from a set down and was very happy about it.
For the first time after three consecutive defeats she defeated Sara Errani and for once didn’t get bageled by the Italian…
Felix Auger Aliassime wins the battle of the Canadians
Denis Shapovalov’s run at Melbourne Park has come to a swift end. Denis who was super impressive in round one against Jannik Sinner has seen his tournament come to a disappointing end to fellow countryman Felix Auger Aliassime.
20 year old Felix who is ranked at No.19 in the world made his debut in Melbourne last summer losing in the first round but for the second time is now into the fourth round of a Grand Slam. The young Canadian plays with such dominance and composure on the baseline to be able to soak up pressure and pounce.
Big credit to him as well having made the final of a warm-up last week but also to be going in good form this week when others have struggled.
It was a shame for Denis having opened his week soo well but he plays such an expansive game but the errors are costly and in those big sets he slipped up.
Dominic Delights in the Australian Cauldron
Big big respect to Dominic Thiem.
First meeting with Nick Kyrgios, two sets down on John Cain Arena which is a cauldron of emotion, the fans cheering errors and banging the advertising boards creating a hostile atmosphere but he pulled off a phenomenal comeback.
For the fourth time in his career he fought from two sets down to win, the last time was the US Open final when he beat Sascha Zverev but this felt as special.
After going two sets down and with Kyrgios sealing the second with an underarm ace, it was about reacting and his whole body language and composure was exceptional. He didn’t show off or look like the situation was bothering him, it was like he expected it and rallied to produce a phenomenal comeback praised by Nick Kyrgios:
“He’s a hell of a player. He’s so disciplined. He’s so composed. His level doesn’t drop. It is what it is.”