The ‘happy slam’ became the late night slam once again, with a women’s match not taking to the court until after 11pm despite other courts being available. FOLLOW LIVE.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka reached the quarter-finals at 2:17am on Monday after winning a bruising late-night encounter against China’s Zhu Lin.

The 24th-seeded Belarusian won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will play Jessica Pegula of the United States, the highest remaining women’s seed left in the draw at three.

Tournament organisers were widely criticised days ago when Andy Murray and home player Thanasi Kokkinakis did battle until 4:05am.

The match between Azarenka and unseeded Zhu started late at Rod Laver Arena because the preceding encounter between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner went to five sets.

It turned out to be a gruelling clash, which started late on Sunday and concluded in the early hours of Monday, in front of what was a nearly empty stadium by that time.

“It was two hours and 40 minutes of complete pressure,” the 33-year-old Azarenka said afterwards.

Asked what time she would get to bed, she replied: “I don’t even know what time it is.

“Probably I’ll be up till 6:00am, then mask on and sleep during the day.”

Broadcaster and former player Pam Shriver questioned the starting time of the encounter, which was caused by the preceding game.

Earlier in the tournament, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both called on Australian Open officials to seek change in the schedule with the amount of late night games.

Players’ input is always important for tournament organisation,” Djokovic said. “Whether it’s decisive, we know that it’s not because it comes down to what the TV broadcasters want to have. That’s the ultimate decision-maker.

“For the crowd, it’s entertaining, it’s exciting, to have matches [at] midnight, 1, 2, 3am. For us, it’s really gruelling. Even if you go through and win, prevail in these kind of matches, you still have to come back. You have your sleeping cycle, rhythm disrupted completely, not enough time really to recover for another five-setter.

“Something needs to be addressed in terms of the schedule after what we’ve seen this year.”

BAD BOYS BEHAVED: DID KYRGIOS LOSE AUS OPEN $105K?

Owen Leonard

All-night matches, flag bans and bathroom break denials aside, the Australian Open is reclaiming its ‘happy slam’ status with tennis’ bad boys behaving, the fines tally shows.

The men have thus far been fined a total of A$23,700.60 – just 18 per cent of last year’s A$129,276 recorded by the end of week two.

The women have combined for just A$6463.30 in comparison, meaning they will draw closer to their 2022 tally of A$13,645.80 but remain a long way off the umpire abuse and racquet smashes seen in the men’s.

Fines collected are reinvested into the grand slam player development program, which gives grants to selected players early in their careers.

The men, however, have been far more tame than previous years, a trend expected to continue given the early exits of serial offenders Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev as well as the absence of Nick Kyrgios.

Shapovalov in 2022 was fined A$21,546 – nearly this year’s week one total – but did not violate in this tournament at all before his third-round departure.

Medvedev was fined A$17,236.80 last year and was one of four players to have copped $4309.20 this tournament but was sent packing by Sebastian Korda in a boilover.

The other three fined that same amount – Oscar Otte, Stan Wawrinka and Adrian Mannarino – are now all out of reckoning.

The PG-rated feel of the tournament has no doubt been aided by Kyrgios’ withdrawal, with the crowd favourite fined A$14,364 in 2022.

Kyrgios was also fined more than double that at Wimbledon, which included a fiery stoush with Stefanos Tsitsipas – who is typically one of tennis’ greatest donors himself.

However, the Greek star is yet to be fined a cent at this year’s Australian Open, probably courtesy of the fact he won all of his first three matches in straight sets.

When his tournament heats up in week two, history shows there’s every chance his attitude will, too.

For now, officials appear on track for an unusually meagre collection.

But with the most heated matches to come, racquets, chair umpires and fans evading balls angrily whacked into the crowd aren’t out of the woods just yet.

Originally published as Australian Open 2023 day 8 live scores, results, schedule and order of play: Djokovic v de Minaur

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *