2023 Australian Open ICYMI: Day 5
Australian Open January 21, 2023
AFTER a day of upsets and epics on Thursday, and though a bit more normality returned to Melbourne Park in the day session, there were still plenty of surprises at night.
- Unpredictable wins. China’s Lin Zhu stunned sixth seed Maria Sakkari in three sets, while Sebastian Korda took down 2022 finalist, Daniil Medvedev in the night session alone. Despite leading two sets to one, Cameron Norrie bowed out to unseeded Czech Jiri Lehecka, while Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina ousted the women’s 2022 finalist, Danielle Collins.
- In the mixed doubles out on Court 15, fan favourites Jason Kubler and Maddison Inglis won in a third set super tiebreaker, getting up 7-6 6-1 11-9 over the seventh seeds. It was a good day for the Aussies in the doubles format, with Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson teaming up for a win, as did Alex Bolt and Luke Saville. Marc Polmans and Alexei Popyrin, and Kimberly Birrell and Rinky Hijikata also got up with wins.
- If you were a Ukrainian tennis fan, then it was a day to forget, with all three women’s singles competitors bowing out rather quickly. Marta Kostyuk felt the wrath of third seed Jessica Pegula, as Anhelina Kalinina fell to Barbora Krejcikova. In the other match, Kateryna Baindl went down to Jelena Ostapenko.
- A frustrated Alison Riske-Amritraj had plenty to say to the chair umpire during her doubles match with Czech Linda Fruhvirtova. Approaching the net, she hit a volley which connected with an opponent and she immediately apologised. The chair umpire did not see the ball hit the opponent somehow and called the point against Riske-Amritraj for calling out with her word “sorry”. Despite talking to the court supervisor and pleading her case – as well as mocking the chair umpire – the point stood. Though she would have the last laugh, as her and Fruhvirtova went on to win their first round doubles match.
- Rybakina has become a fan favourite with her friendly attitude and soft spoken nature, and plenty were thrilled to see her advance past Collins in three sets, 6-2 5-7 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the event. She now takes on top seed Iga Swiatek in her biggest challenge yet, and a battle of the two most recent Grand Slam winners.
- Young gun Coco Gauff has also never been short of fans on Tour, and she no doubt made a few more, having a laugh at her father’s expense in the post-match courtside interview. Her father – who was involved in her viral TikTok – copped a spray from Gauff for his acting performance in it following her 6-3 6-2 triumph over Bernarda Pera.
- Given Medvedev’s injury, the title of biggest upset should go to Zhu, who’s three-set win over sixth seed Sakkari in two hours and 33 minutes was simply superb. Ranked 87th in the world, she hit 13 less winners (29-452) but 14 less unforced errors (38-52), and though she actually only broke five times to seven, the last one would come in the crucial third set.
COMEBACK OF THE DAY:
- It looked for the first two sets like Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner was in trouble against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, going down 6-4 6-4 in the opening two sets. Then, as if he changed the difficulty mode to easy, the young star flicked a switch and only dropped three games for the rest of the match, storming to victory 6-1 6-2 6-0 in the final three sets.
MATCH OF THE DAY:
- There were quite a few, but the five-set epic between Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and Canada’s Denis Shapovalov was a key contender. Hurkacz raced out to a two sets to love lead, before Shapovalov pegged him back impressively to force a fifth set. Somehow the Polish 10th seed found a win, earning a crucial deciding set break to triumph in three hours and 37 minutes on Margaret Court Arena, 7-6 6-4 1-6 4-6 6-3.
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