Australian Open overnight: Fans banned, Serena Williams through and Rafael Nadal blow

Australian Open overnight: Fans banned, Serena Williams through and Rafael Nadal blow

Fans cheered Serena Williams to victory for potentially the last time in this Australian Open before a new lockdown sees the event played behind closed doors for the next five days – at least.

The Victorian Government announced overnight that the new measures will come into effect at 11.59pm local time – 12.59pm in the UK this afternoon.

An Australian Open statement said: “We are notifying ticket holders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the AO for five days, commencing from Saturday 13 February.”

It means there will be crowds in Melbourne Park for Nick Kyrgios’ clash with Dominic Thiem later – and for Novak Djokovic against Taylor Fritz. Until midnight at least.

Serena is four wins from history

The American reached the fourth round after fighting back from 3-5 down in the first set snd saving two sets to beat Anastasia Potapova 7-6 6-2. Williams, who is seeking a record-equalling 24th singles Grand Slam, said: “Actually, I didn’t know at all (about the lockdown) until the match was over.

“I think it’s good that I didn’t know.It’s been really fun to have the crowd back, especially here. It’s been really cool.

“It’s rough. It’s going to be a rough few days for I think everyone. But we’ll hopefully get through it.”

She will face No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the quarter-finals.

Tennis stars are “essential workers”. But what happens at midnight?

The show must go on and the Australian Open and play continued as normal today. But early morning finishes in long matches are not uncommon in this tournament.

What will happen if Nick Kyrgios against Dominic Thiem goes to five sets after midnight. Will play be stopped and the John Cain Arena emptied? Tournament organisers will make an announcement later.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said: “We will let the event come back to you with the operational details.”

Watch the Australian Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player

Will the lack of crowds help Cam Norrie against Rafa Nadal?

The British No.3 will face the 20-time Grand Slam winner in the third round in the last match in the Rod Laver Arena tomorrow (sat).

The Spaniard always enjoys massive support and is the huge favourite to go through. But the lack of crowd and atmosphere could be an advantage for Norrie in the most high-profile match of his career.

The world 69 planned to text his Davis Cup team-mate Andy Murray on tips on how to play the world No.2

Two in-form Grand Slam champions to meet on Valentine’s Day

U.S. Open champion Osaka extended her winning streak to 17 matches by seeing off Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-2. The No.3 seed will now face Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard beat Kazakh Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1.

The Spaniard, who won Wimbledon in 2016, said: “I am very happy with my performances. I feel like today my tennis was there. Very early in the match I tried to be there, to grab the dominance of the match. I am very pleased with this Grand Slam so far.”

Ash Barty is protecting her injury and is out of the doubles

The world No.1 insisted the bandage she wore on her left thigh in her second round win

was “just a little bit of support”. The Aussie explained: “I played a lot of matches in the last 10 days after not playing for 12 months, which is natural. It’s more of an assistance than anything else.”

But now Barty and her partner Jennifer Brady have pulled out of the doubles and given a walkover to Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens a walkover. The 2019 French Open champions is bidding to become the first home singles winner at the Australian Open since 1978.

Published at Fri, 12 Feb 2021 07:30:00 +0000