Maria Sharapova put herself in the title conversation at the Australian Open by knocking out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in the third round.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both put on masterclasses against the next generation, Federer in defeating American Taylor Fritz and Nadal in ending the hopes of Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
Federer next faces another rising star in Stefanos Tsitsipas, while 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova roared into the limelight by knocking out much-fancied 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka.
The fans on Rod Laver were not the only ones in raptures about Federer’s performance.
Nick Kyrgios was making his commentating debut for Channel Nine and could not stop eulogising about the great man.
When asked about it, Federer gently put Kyrgios in his place, saying: “He’s always good for a headline. I like Nick. I like the way he plays and all that. I was happy to hear that he was in the commentary booth. He’s got a bit of time, sticks around, shows he’s passionate about the game. But we wish he was on the court rather than a commentary booth.”
There was certainly something reminiscent of Sharapova in the way Anisimova went fearlessly about her business against Sabalenka, which is perhaps not surprising because the pair share an agent in Max Eisenbud.
They spent time together at Eisenbud’s wedding late last year – although not that much. “We sat down at the same table,” said Sharapova. “But it was a short wedding, so we got out of it pretty early. Second time around, just get it done, you know. I even got out on the dance floor. I think she was a little shy.”
World number one Simona Halep takes on Venus Williams in the third round on Saturday in a match that has bizarrely been scheduled for Melbourne Park’s second court.
Rod Laver Arena instead will host a much-anticipated clash between Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov and night-session matches featuring Alexander Zverev and Karolina Pliskova.
Serena Williams takes on Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska while US Open champion Naomi Osaka faces the tricky Hsiesh Su-wei.News Now - Sport News