The highest-remaining woman in the Australian Open singles draw says she was not surprised to see Iga Swiatek bow out.

Pegula went on court after Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina knocked the world No.1 out of the tournament and surged into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Barbora Krejcikova.

She said the knowledge Swiatek was no longer in the tournament had no bearing on her match, but added she “wasn’t really super surprised” by Rybakina’s win.

“I don’t think it really affected me at all,” Pegula said.

“I thought Rybakina had a great chance to beat her. To be honest, I wasn’t really super surprised.”

“I don’t really think it affected me at all. But, yeah, I guess seeing the top seed go out, you

always kind of think, OK, that’s interesting where the draw is going to go.

“But to be honest, I kind of thought Elena would win, so it didn’t really shock me too much.”

9.43PM SINNER HITS BACK WITH THIRD SET

The complexion of this match has changed completely. Jannik Sinner is bamboozling Stefanos Tsitsipas with a mix of power of precision. The Italian 15th seed serves out a 6-3 set with three aces and we’re off to a fourth set on Rod Laver Arena.

9.25PM KORDA’S ‘FIST BUMP’ WITH DAD, TENNIS LEGEND

As he strives to match his dad’s Australian Open triumph 25 years on, Sebastian Korda has been sharing a pre-match moment – of sorts – with his father.

Korda revealed after his win over Hubert Hurkacz that he had been fist bumping his dad’s image on the ‘walk of champions’ at Melbourne Park.

There was also a fist bump for Andre Agassi, who has served as a mentor for the rising American star.

Petr Korda won the Australian Open in 1998 and his son is through to the quarter-finals as the 29th seed this year.

“Every single time I walk by, I always give him like a little fist pump,” he said.

“Kind of makes me feel like they’re with me in a way.

“I always know that they’re watching. They’re both very special for me.

“Yeah, they helped me a ton. Maybe I was just trying to get the energy so I could hit my backhand a little better (smiling).”

Korda said his parents stayed up to watch his fourth-round win, but hoped his sister Nelly, who is competing in an LPGA tournament, had enjoyed a sleep instead.

9PM AUSSIE DOUBLES PAIRING OUT

Marc Polmans and Alexei Popyrin pushed the No.2 seeds in the men’s doubles to three sets before going down 6-7 6-4 3-6.

8.47PM HUGE PRAISE AS TSITSIPAS GOES TWO SETS UP

Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has hailed the level of tennis being played by Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas as the best at this year’s Australian Open.

Tsitsipas, who is vying with Jannik Sinner for a spot in the quarter-finals, is one of the title favourites and the highest-ranked seed left in the men’s draw.

The 24-year-old did not drop a set on his way to the fourth round and Hewitt said he had not seen anyone playing better than Tsitsipas at Melbourne Park this week.

“He is playing on his terms as well. So I don’t think it matters who he comes up against at the moment, if he can keep this level as well,” he said on Channel 9.

“He got four really tough competitive matches throughout the United Cup lead nothing this, and he won all four against high-quality opponents.”

Jim Courier added: “A lot of good signs if you’re a Stef fan.”

Tsitsipas leads 6-4 6-4 against Jannik Sinner.

8.35PM LEGEND TALKS UP HOPES OF DEMON BOILOVER

Tennis legend John McEnroe says Alex de Minaur is capable of causing a huge boilover and knocking Novak Djokovic out of the Australian Open.

McEnroe told Eurosport de Minaur was the type of player who could expose Djokovic’s supposed injury issues.

It remains unclear how severe Djokovic’s hamstring/leg issue is but he has played with heavy strapping on his way to the fourth round.

“If he is 100 percent or close to that, then De Minaur is the type of guy who maybe can’t hurt him a lot, so Novak is a heavy favourite,” McEnroe said.

“This is really difficult to say where he’s at right now.

“Hamstrings they are tough to diagnose, tough to rehabilitate. You really need to rest it.

“So if this is really an injury where the hamstring is affecting his movement, I’m impressed.

“He’s done this well so far, so hopefully it’s not too serious and he can go out and play the type of matches we’ve seen him play so often in Australia. Then someone has to play, do something incredible to beat him.”

8.15PM HEWITT: TENNIS’ ‘NEW WAVE HAS ARRIVED’

As two stars of tennis’ next wave go toe-to-toe on centre court, Lleyton Hewitt has declared the sport’s changing of the guard is on.

A sport dominated by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for so long is seeing significant change — which has been highlighted at the Australian Open.

Unless Djokovic prevails again, the Australian Open will have a first-time champion in the men’s draw this year.

Fresh faces such as Sebastian Korda, Jiri Lehecka and Ben Shelton have made a name for themselves and are serious contenders for Australian Open glory.

“The new wave has really arrived,” Hewitt said on Channel 9

“We have been waiting quite a while, but we have been so fortunate to have those great champions for so long at the top of our game. But these young stars are here to stay for a long time now also.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is still only 24 years old, might be the leader of the next wave.

He leads Jannik Sinner 6-4 2-1 and has an early break in the second set.

8PM TSITSIPAS TAKES FIRST SET

Stefanos Tsitsipas breaks and then has no trouble sealing the first set on serve 6-4 against Jannik Sinner.

7.48PM PEGULA LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM

Julian Linden

The great American dream is still on at the Australian Open.

Jessica Pegula is suddenly looming as one of the surprise favourites to succeed Ash Barty as the women’s singles champion after surviving another day of carnage at Melbourne Park.

A late bloomer, the 28-year-old Pegula has made it through to the quarter-finals in Australia for the third year in a row after outclassing the Czech Republic’s former French Open champion Barbora Krejcíkova 7-5 6-2.

Pegula isn’t exactly a rags to riches type – her parents are the billionaire owners of NF: Super Bowl contenders the Buffalo Bills – but she is still a bright-eyed dreamer.

If anything, she is proof that no matter where you come from, even the wildest sporting fantasies may be possible if you stay patient and work hard.

Despite her wealth, success in tennis has not come easily or quickly to Pegula, who won her grand slam debut match in 2015 when she made the second round of the US Open – but didn‘t win her second grand slam match for another five years.

As the heiress to a fortune, no-one would have been surprised if she had thrown in the towel but she kept going and is now finally getting the rewards.

In 2022, she made the quarter-finals at the Australian, French and US Open and the best could be yet to come.

Now currently ranked third in the world, she is the highest seeded player left in the women’s draw after world No. 1 Iga Swiatek was beaten on Sunday and will next face either Victoria Azarenka, the former two-time champion, or China’s Lin Zhu.

“I think it makes me appreciate it a lot more,” Pegula said.

“Gives me a different perspective of how far I‘ve come and all the hard work that I’ve put in. Being able to do this three years in a row, I mean, it’s pretty crazy.”

Like most professional tennis players, Pegula swears she plays the game for love not money. In her case, that’s undoubtedly true – even though she’s raking it in.

She has already banked over $10 million in prize money during her blossoming career.

But that’s just loose change to her because she’s a daughter of American billionaire Terry Pegula.

He made his fortune in gas development and is so rich he once outbid Donald Trump to buy the Bills.

So Pegula isn’t telling any fibs when she says she’s playing tennis for the love of the game and right now, she has fallen head over heels with the sport.

“Obviously I want to do more, achieve more. But I think sometimes you kind of have to stop and appreciate it because I feel like it goes by so fast,” she said.

“It feels like, okay, 5 years or 10 years when I‘m done playing, you’re kind of going to be like, I wish I appreciated it. When I’m watching it on TV and you get that feeling of doing well in a tournament, winning a big match, that you’re going to miss that feeling.

“I think at the same time it‘s nice to kind of enjoy it. I think you have to find those moments to help you stay present. All the hard work and stuff like that that I put in, this is why I’m here, that’s why I did that.”

7.35PM LEHECKA RANK SET FOR HUGE RISE

Australian Open surprise packet Jiri Lehecka is poised to almost halve his world ranking after reaching the quarter-finals.

Lehecka is set to jump from 71st in the world to 39th, according to the ATP live rankings.

He will face the winner of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ match against Jannik Sinner.

“Honestly, it feels amazing,” said Lehecka, who has climbed 70 places in the rankings over the past year to 71.

“It’s tough to find the words because what I’ve been through in the last year and now coming back to Australia.

“After losing in the first round last year, if someone had told me before the tournament that I would be playing like this, I wouldn’t have believed them.

“I’m super happy and excited.”

with AFP

7.26PM BLOCKBUSTER UNDERWAY

And it’s been a strange start on centre court. Stefanos Tsitsipas broke in the first game, saved four break points in the second (including from 0-40) and then somehow held on. You get a sense we might be in for a wild ride here.

NETFLIX CURSE CLAIMS LAST VICTIM

Ok, so maybe the Netflix curse is real.

Sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime has become the 10th and final player who featured in Netflix’s tennis documentary Break Point to be ousted from the Australian Open.

The Canadian has lost in four sets to Jiri Lehecka, 4-6 6-3 7-6 7-6.

The Netflix curse has become one of the major talking points at Melbourne Park as Matteo Berrettini, Nick Kyrgios, Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Thanasi Kokkinakis were among the stars to either lose early in the tournament or withdraw.

Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic tweeted on Saturday: “Can we stop with the Netflix curse lol…it’s just sports.”

But no Ajla, it appears the Netflix curse cannot be stopped.

Despite the poor results of those who featured in Melbourne, many other stars have expressed interest in being involved in future episodes of Break Point.

“I mean, it would be fun, of course, yeah, Jelena Ostapenko said after he victory over Coco Gauff.

“But it’s always nice I think for people to see what’s really happening inside of the tennis world, and in general in sports, because most of the people just see how we play, the matches. “They don’t really see what’s happening day-to-day what we’re doing. I think it would be a good idea (smiling).”

After his loss, Auger-Aliassime said: “Yeah, I thought he played better than me overall. Of course, it’s little details, little points.

“I played poorly in the two tiebreaks, but I think from the second set on, yeah, he was a little bit better. Even in the two sets that were tiebreaks, I was winning barely any points on the return.

“So when it got to the tiebreak I felt like he had the edge over me, and that was enough

for me today for him to win.”

7PM PEGULA WINS

Jessica Pegula has avoided the fate of so many seeds before her with a straight-sets victory over Barbora Krejcikova.

The American third seed triumphed 7-5 6-2 and will face the winner of Victoria Azarenka vs Lin Zhu.

6.45PM IS NETFLIX CURSE ABOUT TO STRIKE AGAIN?

The last remaining Break Point star Felix Auger-Aliassime is serving to stay in the Australian Open.

6.40PM STAR AT LOSS TO EXPLAIN AUS OPEN MELTDOWN

Japanese star Yoshihito Nishioka was at a loss to explain how he dropped 12 consecutive games to be staring at an unwanted piece of Australian Open history on Sunday.

Nishioka lost the opening two sets against a rampant Karen Khachanov 6-0 and trailed 2-0 in the third set as talk of a triple bagel started at Melbourne Park.

The 31st seed broke his duck in the third game of the third set and showed plenty of grit from then on, only surrendering 7-6 in a tie-break.

Speaking to reporters later, he was unsure what led to his disastrous first two sets: You know, I don’t know what was gonna happen. Like I know how I have to play against him, but yes, first of all, he was playing amazing,” Nishioka said.

“I was thinking he’s going to mistake more, but he didn’t. Almost him make every returning.

“So I have many pressure on my service game every time. But I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on that first two sets.

“I was thinking I had to do something different. Then, you know, just try fight. After two sets I lost, I was actually, you know, I was still believing I can coming back from the moment, and so I started just grinding against him.

“Little by little, I feel I can figure out the chances. Almost I had it in third set, but it’s not my day so couldn’t take it. He played amazing when have chances, but good thing is I made first time second week in slams, and first time I feel like something happen like that, but still, I was believing third set and try to win still in the moment, so I can learning many things from that.”

6.20PM PEGULA TAKES FIRST SET

The highest-seeded player left in the women’s draw is on the board in her fourth round match.

Jessica Pegula has sealed the opening set 7-5 against Barbora Krejcikova despite only completing two of a possible 13 break points.

6.15PM SIXTH SEED IN TROUBLE

Felix Auger-Aliassime will need five sets if he’s going to stay in the Austraian Open.

Czech Jiri Lehecka has battled back from a set down, winning the second and third sets 6-3 7-6 to take a stranglehold on their fourth-round match.

Lehecka leads 2-1 early in the fourth set on serve.

‘TOWEL GOT ME THROUGH’: STAR’S BIZARRE SUPERSTITION

We’ve heard of comfort blankets.

But how about a comfort towel?

Sebastian Korda has revealed how going to the towel helped him stay composed during a tense fifth set against Hubert Hurkacz which ended in a match tie-break.

The 29th seeded American is into the quarter finals after a 3-6 6-3 6-2 1-6 7-6 triumph.

Afterwards, he said: “We had a little superstition with the towel. The towel got me through it.

“Every time I went to the towel I won the point, so you know, I just kept going to it.”

Hey, whatever works right?

Korda is the son of 1998 Australian Open winner Petr and is three wins away from emulating his father 25 years on — that would be some storyline.

6.01PM KORDA THROUGH

Sebastian Korda is into the last eight of the Australian Open after winning a five-setter against Hubert Hurkacz.

Korda trailed 3-1 in the match tie-break of the fifth set but won the next six points.

Hurkacz then hit back by claiming the next 4-4, tying a seesawing tie-break at 7-7.

Korda claimed a mini break and then serve successfully to seal a gutsy win after leading two sets to one.

There were huge chants of “Korda” on Rod Laver Arena as, with the urging of his coach Radek Stepanek, the crowd found a new favourite with the American.

In commentary during the match tie-break when Hurkacz led 3-2, Jim Courier said:

“You can see that Korda is playing with a little bit of a straight jacket on right now. The pressure of the moment is getting to him. … It is totally normal. He has to swing through it. Trust himself. And that’s easier said than done.”

5.44PM KORDA SAVES TWO BREAK POINTS

Kurkacz would have served for the match but Korda reeled off four consecutive points and eventually makes it 6-5 in the fifth setafter a struggle. Did somebody say match tie-break?

Korda’s coach Radek Stepanek is all of us right now, riding every shot and barely able to stay in his seat.

Earlier, he was revving up the crowd to get behind the American 29th seed.

5.37PM PEGULA, KREJCIKOVA MATCH UNDERWAY

While we’ve been glued to the fifth set of Korda vs Hurkacz, third seed Jessica Pegula’s match against Barbora Krejcikova is underway. It’s on serve in the first set at 3-2 in favour of Krejcikova.

5.23PM STAR CONCEDES DOUBTS OVER LINE TECHNOLOGY

Owen Leonard

Powerful Latvian Jelena Ostapenko has questioned the electronic line calling system after stunning American teen Coco Gauff in a commanding win.

The Australian Open dumped line judges in 2021 in a bid to reduce on-court staff during the pandemic and have stuck with ‘hawk-eye live’ since, meaning all line calls are made immediately by a recorded voice over arena speakers.

Ostapenko looked frustrated with the live calls a number of times in her clash with Gauff and questioned the system in an on-court interview post-match despite coming away with an emphatic win.

Asked whether she had faith in the system, Ostapenko smiled, responding: “To be honest, no.

“Honestly, this live electronic system … I don’t know, sometimes it feels like it makes some mistakes.

“Sometimes I look at my team because sometimes I know I’m wrong, but I feel like some balls are pretty close when I look at my team so I want them to ask what they think about the call.”

The US Open followed suit to make line judges redundant in 2021, while Wimbledon also uses hawk-eye but only when players appeal judges’ calls.

Roland Garros remains the most conservative of the grand slams, using visible ball marks on the red clay after shots rather than employing the hawkeye technology.

4.58PM WILD MOMENTUM SWING AS HURKACZ STORMS BACK

Tenth seed Hubert Hurkacz has all momentum heading into a fifth set against Sebastian Korda after the American fell apart in the last 30 minutes.

Hurkacz did not concede one break point as he breezed through the fourth set 6-1.

“His level absolutely fell down, as Hurkacz’s first serve percentage climbed,” Jim Courier says of the fourth set.

4.55PM CRAZY STAT SUMS UP AUSTRALIAN OPEN CARNAGE

We knew there’d been some serious carnage in the Australian Open men’s and women’s seeds but how about this for a crazy stat?

There’s two seriously wide open title races going on at Melbourne Park.

4.40PM NISHIOKA FIGHT BACK ENDED

He might have avoided a dreaded triple bagel but Yoshihito Nishioka left his rally too late against Karen Kachanov.

After losing the first two sets 6-0 6-0 he bows out of the Australian Open losing a third set tie-break.

The fans on John Cain Arena were getting right behind the Japanese 31st seed but it wasn’t enough to will him to a fourth set.

STAR IN TEARS AFTER CRUSHING AUS OPEN LOSS

Coco Gauff has shed tears in an emotional press conference following her surprise exit from the Australian Open on Sunday.

The American seventh seed lost 5-7 3-6 to 17th seed Jeļena Ostapenko and was later asked whether she was frustrated by her performance, the loss or other aspects of the defeat.

I think it’s because I worked really hard and I felt really good coming into the tournament and I still feel good,” Gauff told reporters.

“Like, I still feel like I’ve improved a lot. But, you know, when you play a player like her and she plays really well, it’s like, you know, there’s nothing you can do.

“I feel like today I would say nothing because every match you play a part in, but I feel like it was rough. So it’s a little bit frustrating on that part.”

She then teared up before saying: “I’m okay. We can keep going.”

4.20PM KORDA CLAIMS THIRD SET

Sebastian Korda has moved closer to a spot in the Australian Open final eight by taking the third set against Hubert Hurkacz.

He leads their match 3-6 6-3 6-2.

4.06PM KORDA RESPONDS TO HURKACZ CHALLENGE

Rod Laver tipped him as the next big thing in men’s tennis and Sebastian Korda is living up to the GOAT’s prediction.

Korda has come from a set down to lead 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz 4-1 in the third set.

He tied their match up by claiming the second set 6-3 and now has the ascendancy.

3:25PM ‘DEVASTATING DEFEAT’: TOP SEEDS FALL IN MASSIVE UPSETS

The race to replace Ash Barty as Australian Open women’s champion is wide open after the shock loss of No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff.

The Pole who went on a 37-match winning streak last year had not dropped a set at Melbourne Park before running into Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina on Sunday and suffering a 6-4 6-4 defeat.

On Sunday morning some of the discussion around week two of the Australian Open centred on who was the bigger certainty to be crowned champion – Swiatek or nine-time men’s winner Novak Djokovic.

But hours later and it was all over for the short-priced favourite who won last year’s French and US Opens.

“For sure in Kazakhstan, I got so much support and I know that

people following me and supporting me, so it was really unbelievable when I came back after (winning Wimbledon last year),” Rybakina said.

“So thank you so much everybody who is watching and, of course, who came to support us and watch us today.”

Sam Smith described defeat as “devastating” for Swiatek who could not get off the court fast enough.

“That is a devastating loss,” Smith said on Ch9. “She is out and out in terms of the ranking points that the dominating player on the women’s tour, she has raised the bar, but the rest, the pack, are coming back to her.”

No 7 seed Gauff was stunned by Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets (7-5, 6-3).

2:56PM HOW BAD IS DJOKER INJURY?

Novak Djokovic has conceded his hamstring is feeling “really bad” in moments during matches, with the star Serb relying on “pills” and “hot cream” to progress through the tournament.

Djokovic defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Saturday but was grateful the match didn’t last any longer after he was forced to claim the first in a tie-break.

The Australian Open favourite admitted the “rollercoaster” injury was getting worse, revealing he was unsure whether he would be able to play out matches before the tournament started.

“It kind of always starts well in last few matches, including this one, and then some movement happens and then it gets worse,” he said of his hamstring.

“Pills kick in, some hot cream and stuff. That works for a little bit, then it doesn’t, then works again.

“The way it looked just before the tournament started, I thought that it wouldn’t be possible. I’m still here and still holding on.”

The 35-year-old never seriously considered withdrawing from the tournament without testing the injury in matches first, he said.

He advanced past round one unscathed but says he is feeling the pinch more frequently as his campaign progresses.

“I did not want to pull out for the tournament because I wanted to see how it’s going to feel on the court,” Djokovic said.

“So the first match was good. The second match I struggled a lot. I had couple of moments where it was really bad. Today, as well.

“But I managed to, as I said, survive and kind of pull it through. I’ll take it match by match. I don’t know what awaits, but I do hope and I have faith for the best.”

JAPANESE STAR COPS DOUBLE BAGEL EMBARRASSMENT

Karen Khachanov is playing insane tennis on John Cain Arena and humiliating his opponent in the process.

The Russian No 18 seed won the first 12 games of the fourth round clash to double bagel his opponent who had nothing to give in response besides a couple of racquet smashes and saying how “funny” it way.

Khachanov ran riot claiming the opening two sets in 46 minutes.

“It’s like a parking ticket the day you get your tax bill,” Todd Woodbridge said.

“Nothing going for him.

“This is relentless, it’s like watching one of those karate kid, villain things.

“He’s won one point this set, one point.

“Two points, two points! Come on!

“He’s won two points in one set in a fourth round clash at a grand slam.”

The third set has started better for the Japanese player, the crowd erupting as he held on to hold his first service game of the match.

2:27 PM COULD CROWD END DJOKER RUN?

Playing an Australia in Aus is a daunting prospect for anyone at the Open and that’s just what is coming Novak Djokovic’s way tomorrow.

Normally well supported in his matches, a fourth round clash with Demon on Monday night will be the first time in a while that Djokovic will play in Melbourne without the support of the stadium.

For Demon he knows it’s a massive advantage.

“I think the difference is that the opponents not only have to play against me,” he said.

“But they’ve got to play against me and the whole crowd, right?”

It was a theme acknowledged by Djokovic, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.

“It’s a big challenge of playing an Aussie guy here in front of his home crowd,” said the Serb.

“I’m sure that the atmosphere will be electric and he’s going to have a lot of support, and he’s going to be pumped to try to win the match.”

1:23PM WORLD NO 1 IN TROUBLE

For the first time this tournament, Iga Swiatek has dropped a set.

Up against Elena Rybakina on Rod Laver Arena, the Polish star is rattled dropping having dropped just 15 games so far this tournament she lost the first 4-6.

Rybakina has a point to prove today. The reigning Wimbledon champion has been shunned to the outside courts for the first three matches in Melbourne.

The snus have irked her so getting the chance to strut her stuff will no doubt be tasting sweeter by the minute.

”Iga she’s struggling,” Jelena Dokic has said in her courtside commentary.

“What Rybakina is doing so well, she’s going hard and flat in Iga’s forehand. We know that’s what she doesn’t like. She has a bigger swing.

“Her forehand is one of the best in the world when she has time. If you can go hard and fast into the forehand, she struggles.

“Tactically Rybakina is doing the right thing. Iga is trying to change the pattern of play to go into the backhand court rallies. It’s just not working.

“Iga is going to have to do something big to turn this around.”

12:43PM WHERE’S NICK KYRGIOS WHEN YOU NEED HIM?

Australian Open fines in the men’s competition are down a whopping 82 per cent.

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

It’s been a significantly tamer competition than in recent 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 Tstsipas – 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.

Meanwhile, the women’s competition has combined for just A$6463.30 meaning they are on track to meet to their 2022 tally of A$13,645.80.

11:53AM WHAT WAS BEHIND STAR PAIR’S FROSTY HANDSHAKE?

Andy Murray had a crowd of 7,500 in his corner all night long in his Saturday blockbuster against Roberto Bautista Agut and the one-sided nature of the fans clearly got to the Spaniard.

Murray’s 4:05 am finish eventually caught up with him as he bowed out in typically defiant style in round three.

The 35-year-old was clearly feeling the effects of his epic five-setter in round two, which started on Thursday but ended in the early hours of Friday.

The 24th-seeded Spaniard Bautista won 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 6-4 but it was the frosty meeting at the net which had people talking.

Social media lit up with people questioning what beef the pair had with Agut later hinting the sway of the crowd and raucous support had irked him.

“He understands the game very well and he knows how to play with a crowd, how to play with the nerves of the opponent,” he said afterwards.

“Today was a tough match. I think I did a great job.”

Margaret Court Arena was dubbed the “Murray madhouse” with the noise from the crowd reaching decibels you’d expect from the championship winning point in a final rather than every time the Brit won a point, game or set.

10:15AM BRUTAL HONESTY DRIVES STAR

If you’re not ready to hear the brutally honest truth then don’t go near Belinda Bencic’s coach.

Last year the Swiss star hired Dmitri Tursunov – former top 20 player and previously coach to some of the biggest names in women’s tennis. There has been a transformational shift to her game.

Two weeks ago she won in Adelaide and now Bencic is in the fourth round at the Australian Open in a wide open women’s draw.

Brutal honesty is working for the 25-year-old.

“He’s definitely a very tough coach, for sure,” she said. “He definitely doesn’t talk about everything else around the point and just really tells you what you need to hear, and sometimes you really need to hear the uncomfortable stuff.

“ I’m not someone who is like: ‘Oh, like don’t criticise me.’ I’m used to it.

“That’s really what I’m looking for. I’m trying to improve everything but he just pushes me a lot, so it puts me out of my comfort zone. So I don’t feel like, oh, I’m playing so well in practice, everything is great. Like then I come to the match, and you know in the match you’re also out of your comfort zone, so definitely I’m trying to do what he’s telling me.

It’s working so far, so I’m definitely trusting him a lot. I just feel like we have a great year in front of us.”

9:25AM X-RATED COMMENTARY

Live sport commentary is a tough job, even the best in the business get caught out.

There are plenty of sporting expressions that bring with them x-rated double-entendres.

It’s a minefield.

“How do you respond to deep hard balls,” one says.

“Yeah you’ve got to really stay nice and low,” is the response.

Before both are unable to hold back a fit of giggles.

A long silence followed.

It wasn’t the only fit of laughter that interrupted play at this year Aus Open.

Arnya Sabalenka was serving for the match in her clash against Elyse Mertens when someone in the crowd appeared to let rip.

“What was that? asks one of the commentators.

“Some sort of indescribable noise from the crowd,” was the diplomatic response

8am: DJOKER HINTS HE’S CLOSE TO THE END

An ailing Novak Djokovic said every moment counted now that he was in the “last stage” of his career, after battling past Grigor Dimitrov and into the Australian Open last 16.

The Serb came through a titanic 77-minute first set before taming the Bulgarian 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, needing treatment twice on his troublesome hamstring.

He will face home hope Alex de Minaur for a place in the quarter-finals after the 22nd seed defeated Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in three sets.

Djokovic’s gutsy win inched him nearer to a 10th Australian Open title and record-tying 22 Grand Slam crowns.

Winning once again in Melbourne would also return him to world number one for the first time since June.

Now 35, Djokovic said he was savouring each tournament more. “Every season counts I guess now, when you come to the last stage, the last quarter, of your career,” he said.

“Obviously you start appreciating and valuing each tournament more because you might not have a lot left in the tank.

“I’ve been truly fortunate to do what I love, I love the sport, I love competing. It’s been almost 20 years now of professional sport. I can’t be more grateful than I am.”

7AM LEGEND ANOINTS WONDER KID AS TENNIS’ NEXT BIG THING

Sebastian Korda is the player to beat at the Australian Open — according to the greatest player of all time.

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver has his eye firmly on American giant-killer and son-of-a-champion Korda, who dismissed two-time runner-up Daniil Medvedev on Friday night.

Laver liked what he saw in that clash, and has backed in the 22-year-old to make a real stand in the second week.

“It’s nice that the young players that are coming on now,” the 11-time slam winner, including two calendar grand slams, said.

“There’s one guy – I think Korda. He beat Medvedev (on Friday night). And I think he’s the one who will be one of your next champions out there.

“There’s four or five others that are 18 years of age, 19, and they’re getting the experience and getting to play down here.”

Laver, who was ranked the top player in the world for seven years straight and has more career titles than any other player, said Korda’s performance against Medvedev on Friday showed he had potentially taken the next step.

“He’s been a great young player,” he said.

“Once you get past playing some of these also-ran players (it’s one thing), but then when you’re up against Medvedev, and you still perform and compete – you’re prepared to put the effort in. I think I see him going a long way.”

Medvedev discovered the unique nature of Korda’s game first-hand, and described the young gun as “one of the strongest hitters” in tennis.

“There are some other guys playing like this, but they miss more than him. And he didn’t miss that much,” the Russian said.

“His game (is) kind of different from everybody because very aggressive and very early he takes the ball. A little bit maybe like Novak (Djokovic). But, yeah, well, not every player is capable of doing that, so that’s beautiful and that.

“If I do it, I would be ranked 700 in the world.”

Korda revealed after the pair’s clash that he had been met with a text message from eight-time slam-winner Andre Agassi, who he credited with sparking his game into action.

“He’s going to bed now. That’s the last thing he sent me,” he said.

“He’s one of the most special people in my life. We started talking during Covid in 2020.

“He’s been one of the biggest parts in my rise. Just overall just as a tennis player, as a human being. We spend a lot of time together.

“He’s very special to me.”

Originally published as Australian Open 2023 day 7 live scores, results, schedule and order of play

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