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Day 5 Preview: Medvedev, Felix, Tsitsipas In Action

  • Posted: Jan 19, 2023

Day 5 Preview: Medvedev, Felix, Tsitsipas In Action

Tiafoe, Sinner, Norrie also on Friday’s card

Daniil Medvedev continues his title quest and Felix Auger-Aliassime looks to carry his momentum from his second-round escape when Day 5 of an unpredictable Australian Open dawns on Friday.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who survived in five sets to oust Lorenzo Sonego on Wednesday, will face another test: 20th seed Denis Shapovalov. Stefanos Tsitsipas hasn’t dropped a set this tournament and the Greek looks to continue his success and quest to reach World No. 1 this fortnight. looks at four key matchups on Friday’s action-packed card at Melbourne Park.

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[7] Daniil Medvedev vs. [29] Sebastian Korda (USA)

Eyeing his second Grand Slam crown and first Down Under, Medvedev has made quick work of his first two opponents. But 22-year-old Sebastian Korda will look to rely on his all-court game to spoil Medvedev’s Melbourne title hopes.

Medvedev is aiming to become the fourth man in the Open Era to reach three consecutive Australian Open finals. The only men to defeat him in Melbourne the past two years are all-time greats Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Although Korda has earned three Top-10 victories and twice reached the fourth round of a major (2020 Roland Garros, 2021 Wimbledon), victory over the 2021 US Open champion would mark the biggest win of his career.

In the first week of the season, Korda pushed Djokovic to the brink at the Adelaide International 1, where the American had a championship point before the Serbian rallied to win a gruelling three-hour, nine-minute battle 6-7(8), 7-6(3) 6-4 and claim his 92nd Tour-level trophy. The Florida native has bounced back since the Adelaide final, claiming a pair of victories in Melbourne against Cristian Garin and Yosuke Watanuki.

Medvedev and Korda’s only previous meeting came at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters, where the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion rallied from a set down to defeat the American. Their contest on Rod Laver Arena is sure to provide exciting lung-busting rallies as they close out Friday’s evening session.

[6] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs. [28] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG)

Felix had his back against the wall in the second round against Alex Molcan. After early exits at the past two majors (US Open, Wimbledon), it looked likely the Canadian was headed out of the tournament on Wednesday. But the 22-year-old clawed his way back from two sets to love down for the second time in his career (2022 Roland Garros v. Varillas) and now finds himself in the third round.

Cerundolo, who earned his maiden Grand Slam win this week, looks to continue his run and upset the sixth seed. The 24-year-old Argentine, who won his first Tour-level title last year in Bastad, carries a lethal forehand that will test Felix.

Last year’s quarter-finalist Auger-Aliassime is aiming to book his ticket to the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the seventh time, while Cerundolo is bidding to become the fourth man in the past decade to reach the fourth round during his Australian Open debut. Set to play on John Cain Arena, it will be Felix and Cerundolo’s first encounter.

[10] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) vs. [20] Denis Shapovalov (CAN)

After a dramatic five-set victory in the second round, Hurkacz is aiming to become the third Polish man in history to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open (Wojtek Fibak in 1978 and Lukasz Kubot in 2010). The 10th seed must first outlast last year’s quarter-finalist Shapovalov.

The 23-year-old produced strong performances in the opening two rounds, defeating Dusan Lajovic and Taro Daniel. Despite trailing Hurkacz 1-3 in their ATP Head2Head series record, the Canadian could earn redemption should he capture their first Grand Slam encounter. The winner of the Margaret Court Arena clash could meet Medevdev in the next round.

[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Tallon Griekspoor (NED)

Tsitsipas can rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time by lifting his maiden Grand Slam crown in Melbourne. The 24-year-old must first get past Griekspoor to keep his hopes alive. And he’s caught the Dutchman on a six-match winning streak after he collected his maiden Tour-level title in Pune, India.

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Tsitsipas, who is a three-time Australian Open semi-finalist, has made a fast start at Melbourne Park this week. Yet to play a match over two hours, the Greek was dominant in his first two performances against Frenchman Quentin Halys and home favourite Rinky Hijikata.

Griekspoor is bidding to defeat a Top-5 player for the first time on his second attempt (2021 US Open, l. Djokovic). The Dutchman hopes to add an upset on Rod Laver Arena to what is already his best Grand Slam performance.

Also In Action…

Last year’s US Open semi-finalists Frances Tiafoe and Karen Khachanov will meet for the third time. The American looks to claim his first victory over Khachanov. Jannik Sinner looks to continue his hot start against Marton Fucsovics.

Cameron Norrie encounters Jiri Lehecka, whom he defeated during the first week of this season in Auckland, where the Brit finished runner-up (l. Gasquet).

Mackenzie McDonald sets his sights on backing up his straight-sets victory over Nadal. The American faces 31st seed Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round.

In doubles action, third seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo begin their quest for a second Grand Slam team title (2022 Roland Garros). The duo kicks off Court 8 action against Diego Hidalgo and Emil Ruusuvuori.

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Two Hours From Daybreak, Murray Seals Epic Win Over Kokkinakis

  • Posted: Jan 19, 2023

Two Hours From Daybreak, Murray Seals Epic Win Over Kokkinakis

Scot sets new record for most comebacks from two-sets-to-love down

Andy Murray has clinched his second consecutive five-set win in the early hours of Friday morning at the Australian Open, this time rallying from two-sets-to-love down for a record 11th time in his career.

Finishing at 4:05 a.m., just two hours from daybreak in Melbourne, the former World No. 1 rallied past home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5, advancing after five hours and 45 minutes in the longest match of his career. Murray withstood 102 winners, including 37 aces, from the South Australian.

“It was unbelievable I managed to turn that around,” said Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist. “Thanasi was serving unbelievably and hitting his forehand huge. I don’t know how I managed to get through it. I did start playing better as the match went on, but yeah, I have a big heart.

“I now am outright the most wins coming from two-sets-to-love down, so I have done it before. I have experience of it. I just rely on that experience and drive. That fight and love for the game and competing and my respect for this event and the competition and that is why I kept going.”

With a lively Australian crowd watching, Murray demonstrated his mental and physical strength for the second time this week, having edged Matteo Berrettini in a four-hour, 52-minute five-set thriller in the first round. The Scot battled back from 2-5 in the third set to gain a foothold in the match, before he continued to play aggressively in the fourth and fifth sets to earn the 11th win of his career from two-sets-to-love down, more than any other active player.

Comebacks from two-sets-to-love down

Player  Comebacks From 0-2
Andy Murray  11 
Fabio Fognini  10 
Marin Cilic 
Novak Djokovic 
Fernando Verdasco

It is also the first time Murray has reached the third round at the first major of the season since 2017, with his finish time of 4:05 a.m. in Melbourne the latest in his career. His previous latest finish came in Washington, where play ended at 3:02 a.m.

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In a thrilling clash, Kokkinakis came out firing. The 26-year-old Australian struck 39 winners across the first two sets and from 5-2 in the third set looked set to reach the third round in Melbourne for the first time. However, as Berrettini discovered in the first round, defeating Murray is no simple task.

Despite spending nearly five hours on court against the Italian, Murray held up physically against Kokkinakis, looking the fresher of the two as the match went on. He increasingly stepped inside the baseline to hit through the Australian and won one of the points of the year to break at the start of the third set.

At 0-2, the Scot scampered from corner to corner, stretching every inch of his body to retrieve three smashes before Kokkinakis could only find the net with a forehand. Following the exchange, Murray pointed to his head, letting out a roar in delight. It was a moment that summarised the match.

Murray won 81 per cent (21/26) of his first-serve points and committed just seven unforced errors in the fourth set to level the match, before he dug deep in the decider to earn his second win of the season.

Murray has produced some of his best tennis at the hard-court major, reaching the final five times. The 35-year-old, who now holds a 51-14 record in Melbourne, has not advanced to the fourth round at a major since 2017, when he enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

He will look to change that when he next plays Roberto Bautista Agut after the Spaniard also rallied from two sets down to defeat American wild card Brandon Holt 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

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Djokovic Survives Injury Scare & Couacaud To Advance At Australian Open

  • Posted: Jan 19, 2023

Djokovic Survives Injury Scare & Couacaud To Advance At Australian Open

Serbian next plays Dimitrov

Novak Djokovic suffered a scare in more ways than one Thursday evening at the Australian Open. However, the nine-time champion persevered to reach the third round at Melbourne Park.

Despite struggling with his left leg, which was wrapped, the Serbian clawed past Frenchman Enzo Couacaud 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0. Djokovic appeared in difficulty after losing the second-set tie-break, but immediately refocussed to charge through the rest of the match after three hours and four minutes.

“There was a lot happening in tonight’s match,” Djokovic said. “He deserves credit for the fight. He played some great tennis, especially in the second set. He deservedly pushed the match to four sets. We both had some medical timeouts and struggled a little bit but I managed to respond well in the third and fourth. I love playing night sessions. Let’s keep it going.”

The Serbian is chasing a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam trophy this fortnight and will reclaim No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings if he wins the title. The 35-year-old will keep his focus directly in front of him, though, with former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov looming in the third round.

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There were moments in the match against Couacaud when advancing did not seem a sure thing. As the second set wore on, Djokovic became more hampered by his left hamstring injury. Playing with heavy strapping, the fourth seed winced after stretching for a ball at 4-4, calling for a medical timeout when trailing 4-5.

His movement was clearly compromised and Couacaud took full advantage, swinging freely and embracing the crowd at Melbourne Park. When Djokovic let slip the second set in a tie-break, it was unclear how his body would react for the rest of the match.

But the Serbian never panicked. Instead, he locked in and improved physically, winning 12 of the match’s final 14 games.

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World No. 191 Couacaud put forth a courageous effort in his first match against a Top 10 opponent. But once Djokovic’s movement improved in the third set, the Frenchman was unable to respond.

“It is expected when you walk on the court as favourite and you play someone on this stage for the first time, of course they are going to go for their shots,” Djokovic said. “You just accept it. I had many opportunities in the second to win it and I didn’t. He pushed it to a third and fourth set and you just have to deal with it.

“Sometimes the situations don’t go your way but that is sport. I have been in these situations before, so many times in my life and career, so I think that also helps, the experience of understanding what you need to do in the moment to give your best.”

Djokovic now holds a 7-0 record on the season, having captured his 92nd tour-level title in Adelaide earlier this month. It was at the ATP 250 where Djokovic hurt his leg in the semi-finals against Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic’s next opponent, Dimitrov, defeated Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-2, 6-0. The former World No. 1 leads their ATP Head2Head series 9-1.

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With Ruud Looming, Brooksby Ready To 'Push To The Limit'

  • Posted: Jan 19, 2023

With Ruud Looming, Brooksby Ready To ‘Push To The Limit’

American to play Ruud in the second round

When Jenson Brooksby walks onto Rod Laver Arena to take on World No. 3 Casper Ruud on Thursday at the Australian Open, he’ll have to battle if he is to earn his second Top 5 win.

Thankfully, the American will be ready to do just that.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Brooksby told “I’ve been working on getting tougher mentally. We put in more hours in the gym as well with the strength and also with the cardio too. I lost a little bit of that toughness last year from my training. So I think that’s something that is going to be key.

“I am really starting to push harder in some areas and I feel like I’m in a good spot to, mentally and especially physically, go well and push myself to the limit.”

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Brooksby gave fans a glimpse into the competitor he is at the 2021 US Open, where he pushed Novak Djokovic to four sets in a physical fourth-round encounter in New York. The American gave a good account of himself against the former World No. 1, hiding the face that it was just the seventh tour-level event Brooksby had played in his career.

Since then, the World No. 39 has gained further experience. He reached tour-level finals in Dallas and Atlanta last year, while he also earned his maiden Top 5 win against Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the fourth round in Indian Wells in 2022.

“I think the experiences I had on the Tour last year will really help as long as you learn from them. I think that they will be really beneficial in big moments this year,” Brooksby said. “Most of the tournaments I’ve been to, so I’ll know how to handle the different situations that it can present. Last year in Europe I was gone for 11 weeks in a row and I’d never been gone more than like four weeks. That now helps for Australia, just knowing how to adjust.”

Thursday’s second-round meeting against Ruud will provide another opportunity for the American to test himself on the biggest stage. Brooksby’s journey to this moment began 15 years ago. At the age of seven, his father, Glen, who named his son after Formula 1 driver Jenson Button, put Brooksby into tennis lessons.

From the age of 12, he began homeschooling and stopped playing other sports, with tennis his primary focus. With his father a constant support, Brooksby will be aiming to make him proud when he takes to court against Ruud.

“He’s been a huge part,” Brooksby said on his father. “He was able to get me lessons from my coach since I was seven years old. I was able to have lessons five days a week and he worked hard to get where he is today. I hope I can make him proud with what I’m doing as well, and I’m just grateful for all the opportunities that he’s been able to give me.”

Brooksby, who is making his debut in Melbourne, defeated Christopher O’Connell in four sets to reach the second round. If he can upset Ruud, he will book his spot in the third round at a major for the fourth time.

Having seen 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz defeat the Norwegian in the 2022 US Open final, Brooksby can turn to that as motivation as he aims to fight for every ball.

“I just want to have looked back after matches knowing that I worked my hardest and did everything I could, and then really from then I can just see how much I can progress. I am very motivated seeing those younger guys have the success. It makes me believe I can do the exact same thing, and if not better.”

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