Tennis Ridiculous tennis: Nadal leaves legend ‘befuddled’ in epic

Tennis Ridiculous tennis: Nadal leaves legend ‘befuddled’ in epic

Tennis

Another Australian Open competitor has tested positive for Covid-19. It is the second case to hit the tournament as questions continue to be asked about testing.

Another Australian Open competitor has tested positive for Covid 19.

Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck’s exit PCR test returned a positive result and the world No 55 is said to be in isolation.

The 27-year-old posted an update to her Instagram followers.

“My exit test in Melbourne to go back to Belgium came back positive. I am isolating and following all requirements. I have very mild symptoms and am looking forward to coming back even stronger.”

Van Uytvanck is the latest in a list of players to have contracted Covid while in Australia.

Last week Ugo Humbert revealed he was positive shortly before taking to the court for his round three clash with Dan Evans.

During qualifying, Australia’s Bernard Tomic told a chair umpire mid match he thought he had Covid.

Two days later his premonition came true.

“I’m sure in the next two days I’ll test positive, I’m telling you,” Tomic said before having a crack at the lack of testing on site.

“I’ll buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days. Otherwise, you buy me dinner.

“I cannot believe nobody’s getting tested. They’re allowing players to come on the court with rapid tests in their room. Come on.

“No official PCR testing.”

LIVE: FOLLOW THE LATEST FROM DAY 5

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Night session – From 7:00pm AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 4

A. Barty 1

A. Anisimova

Men’s Singles • Round 4

P. Carreno Busta 19

M. Berrettini 7

MARGARET COURT ARENA

Day session – Not before 1:00pm AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 4

J. Pegula 21

M. Sakkari 5

Day session – Not before 3:00pm AEDT

Men’s Singles • Round 4

A. Zverev 3

D. Shapovalov 14

JOHN CAIN ARENA

Day session – Not before 6:30pm AEDT

Men’s Singles • Round 4

Nitght session – Not before 6:30pm AEDT

M. Kecmanovic

G. Monfils 17

5:37PM AUSSIES DROPS SECOND SET

Things have taken a turn for our Special Ks.

After an epic first set, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have dropped the second and are now in a do-or-die third set.

The Aussies gave up an early break and despite breaking back late, were unable to come through at the business end.

5:19PM NADAL THROUGH AFTER EPIC FIRST SET

History-chasing Spaniard Rafael Nadal refused on Sunday to become the latest victim of Melbourne’s heat wave.

With dual champion Victoria Azarenka exiting the tournament earlier in the day, Nadal remains the last-standing Australian Open singles winner from either gender.

Adrian Mannarino sent a scare through the Nadal camp in an 81-minute opening set that extended to an incredible 30-point tiebreaker – but it was smooth sailing once it went the Spaniard’s way.

Mannarino’s excellent early play waned in the following sets, with Nadal eventually breezing to a 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 triumph to book his 14th career quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

The French veteran physically wilted, grabbing at his left knee during the marathon tiebreak and later calling for the trainer for what looked a separate issue.

Nadal last won the Australian Open 13 years ago, but was runner-up in 2012 (Novak Djokovic), 2014 (Stan Wawrinka), 2017 (Roger Federer) and 2019 (Djokovic), so there is unfinished business.

Neither Djokovic (vaccine-related deportation) nor Federer (knee injury) is in Melbourne, meaning Nadal is the only one who could break their record-smashing grand slam men’s singles title deadlock.

– Marc McGowan

4:55PM: SPECIAL KS TAKE OPENING SET

The good times keep coming for the Special Ks.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have taken the first set of their match with Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar on a rocking Kia arena.

The first set was anyone’s at 4-4 but some thunderous returns from Kyrgios helped the Aussies secure the vital break.

4:45PM: SPECIAL KS RETURN TO COURT AFTER FIGHT DRAMA

They’re the rock stars of the tennis circuit – the Special Ks who have turned the tennis world on its head this week.

But can their epic Australian Open run continue?

Fresh off beating the No.1 seeds, Nick Kyrgios and great mate Thanasi Kokkinakis hit Melbourne Park again as they look to run through the men’s doubles.

It is the duo’s first time back on court since being caught up in an almost locker room fight following their victory last round.

Tennis Australia is now investigating the incident.

So far it doesn’t appear to have had an impact. Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have taken the first set.

RIDICULOUS TENNIS: LEGEND ‘BEFUDDLED’ BY NADAL EPIC

Rafa Nadal is locked in an insane battle on Rod Laver Arena. An 81 minute opening set in blistering heat has left one of the world’s greatest gobsmacked.

The Spanish great is up against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and the showdown is not disappointing.

With temperature in Melbourne hitting over 34 degrees, what both players would have hoped would be a fast affair is a slugfest.

The first set alone went longer than any of Ash Barty’s entire matches.

Mannarino had seven attempts to close it out but it finally went Nadal’s way 7-6(14).

It was absurd tennis.

“That was a ridiculous win,” Jim Courier said on commentary during the first set tiebreak. “What a terrific shot and point for Mannarino. Boy, that point, watching those 25 shots develop, Nadal was playing cat and mouse with the guy who loves to play cat and mouse. Nadal didn’t play his style.

“I don’t know if you can tell at home I’m enormous fan of Rafael Nadal. Nothing against Adrian Mannarino. I’m just befuddled by a lot of what we’ve seen out here from Rafa. I don’t know why he’s making some of these choices.”

4:10pm THAT NADAL MANNARINO SET BROKEN DOWN

81 minutes

7-6 (14)

Nadal points won 49

Nadal aces 8

Mannarino points won 47

Mannarino aces 4

Longest rally 25 shots

By comparison to the 81 minute set, Ash Barty’s longest match lasted 61 minutes

2:41pm FAN FORCED TO TAKE SHIRT OFF

By Jasper Bruce

Tennis Australia is standing by its decision to order an Australian Open spectator to remove a shirt that featured a message in support of Peng Shuai amid ongoing concerns for the Chinese tennis star’s welfare.

On Sunday morning, footage emerged of security and police at the Australian Open requesting a spectator remove her shirt, which featured an image of Peng on the front and the message “Where Is Peng Shuai?” on the back.

The video ends with police saying that Tennis Australia was permitted to confiscate any paraphernalia that referenced Peng.

Tennis Australia told News Corp Australia that it feared for Peng’s safety but that fans were not permitted to make political statements with their clothing at the Australian Open.

“Under our ticket conditions of entry we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political,” a Tennis Australia spokesperson said.

“Peng Shuai’s safety is our primary concern. We continue to work with the WTA and global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation and will do everything we can to ensure her wellbeing.”

A GoFundMe page seeking to distribute Peng Shuai shirts at the Australian Open raised $6,500 within one 24 hours of being uploaded this weekend.

Victoria Police did not immediately return News Corp Australia’s request for comment.

In November, Peng, 36, made a social media post that accused former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her in 2017.

“Why did you come and look for me again, take me to your house, and force me into sex? I have no proof, and it would be impossible for me to keep any evidence. You denied everything afterwards,” Peng is quoted as having written.

The post was deleted within half an hour and Shuai was not heard from for weeks afterwards, prompting #WhereisPengShuai to trend on Twitter.

1:45pm IT’S HOT, AZARENKA OUT

Barbora Krejcikova is into the quarter-finals of the Aus Open after toppling two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

It means that for the first time in a while, week two of the women’s draw has no defending champions competing.

1:30PM NO 1 OF THE FUTURE HAS NO SPONSOR

Tennis players are selfish and a bit egotistical by nature, they have to be, according to Herald Sun columnist and former player Sam Groth.

It’s true. The majority of the world’s best always speak in the singular; I, I, I, me, me, me.

It’s a solitary sport for the most part. A lot of solo travelling. You have to have self-belief.

Up and coming men’s star Maxime Cressy is certainly not lacking in that department.

The young American, who is single-handedly trying to bring back the serve and volley, is confident he can topple Novak Djokovic. And attracting a sponsor along the way wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Ranked 70th in the world, now would be the time to get your name on his clothing, because world domination won’t take long.

Asked if he saw himself becoming a top 10 player, Cressy said: “Yeah, even No. 1, yeah, I’m very confident. My game style can beat anyone, so starting this year I’m very confident.

“I played Nadal and I really believe that it really put him in an uncomfortable position so I really stick to my routines and to a very disciplined mindset I can do it, yeah.”

We will get a pretty accurate reading on the American’s claims on Monday when he faces world No 2 and tournament favourite Danil Medvedev.

He just needs some logos to add to his shirts.

“I wait (for sponsors), I’m patient, I wait until I have a major breakthrough and I have a leverage to negotiate, especially during the COVID and everything it’s much tougher to have a great deal with a sponsorship, so I prefer really breaking through to the top 50, top 10 and then I negotiate.”

12:23pm QUARTER FINALIST

Madison Keys is the first player into the last eight of the Aus Open after beating world No 6 Paula Badosa in a massive upset.

It’s the first time Keys has made the last eight since 2018.

12:15pm LOOPHOLE WILL SEE DJOKOVIC RETURN

Just days after new laws were introduced that would see Novak Djokovic banned from the French Open, a loophole has been discovered.

The world No 1, who was deported from Australia a week ago, immediately saw the door slammed on his aspirations to win a 21st grand slam title when Emmanuel Macron changed the vaccination policy in France.

It was widely reported that the no jab no play approach in France would effectively rule Djokovic out of the May slam.

However, according to reports in Europe, France’s vaccination passports will provide exemption to those who have contracted the virus in the last six months.

Djokovic claims he tested positive on December 16 2021 which would see him squeeze Roland Garros into the 26 week window.

The French Open is scheduled to begin on May 22nd and end on June 5th.

Djokovic is the defending champion.

It remains unclear at this stage if Djokovic will be able to contest Wimbledon and or the US Open.

11:15AM: STAR DOESN’T REALISE HE HAS WONThere’s a lot going on when you’re playing for a spot in the fourth round of a grand slam.

But not realising you have won? That’s something we haven’t seen before.

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas did not drop a service game, despite losing a set, as he overpowered Benoit Paire to reach the fourth round.

And while everyone celebrated for him, it took the Greek ace a while to realise it was over.

Heretreated to the baseline to prepare for the next point, that was until the umpire announced “game, set, match.”

“Guys that was wild, Stefanos literally did not know that he had won the match there,” Brad Stine said in commentary.

“It was funny because Benoit was staring him down, it looked like he (Tsitsipas) was going to go get his towel before he came to shake hands and Benoit actually looked a little irritated like, ‘Come shake hands, man, what are you doing?’

“Then he turned around and saw Benoit at the net and realised what was happening.”

Tsitsipas was on course for a straight-sets win but decisively lost a tiebreak to the Frenchman, before going on to see out victory 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 in 2hr 42min on a steamy Rod Laver Arena.

Tsitsipas will face Taylor Fritz for a place in the quarter-finals after the American overcame Spanish 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Tsitsipas is a two-time semi-finalist in Melbourne but is yet to win a Grand Slam title.

.

1015am SERENA’S COACH WEIGHS IN ON KYRGIOS

Tennis needs Nick Kyrgios more than Nick Kyrgios needs tennis.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t argue with the statement.

The NK effect has been on show at tournaments around the world for years. But the Aus Open has seen it in full swing with more young men sitting in the stands than ever before.

Irrespective of the Aussie’s world ranking he will be a top choice for wildcards – should he need them – for years to come.

He puts bums on seats and he turns televisions on.

While he continues to divide opinion, he’s getting support from all the right place.

Most recently from Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou who says Kyrgios is “everything tennis that needs.”

9:45am TILEY DODGES QUESTIONS

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has again dodged questions about Novak Djokovic and the handling of the deportation fiasco.

A week after the world No 1 was booted out of the country after having his visa cancelled for a second time, plenty of questions remain unanswered.

Djokovic has been seen in public on multiple occasions since he arrived back in Serbia, but Tiley had little to say when asked if he would have done anything differently.

“Just prior to Novak leaving we did talk and have a conversation as well as during the period of it,” Tiley told Channel 9.

“There are reports that he is having some quiet time with his family and where we are today is that we’re focused on delivering a great event.”

It is the second time this week the CEO has sidestepped questions regarding the global circus that was Djokovic’s time in Australia.

On Thursday, Tiley said he believed tennis authorities had “already addressed those questions” surrounding whether either he or Tennis Australia had done anything outside of the guidelines provided to them by the federal and state governments.

READ THE FULL STORY

9:20am ALCOTT GETS GOING

Dylan Alcott’s phone doesn’t stop pinging with Instagram direct messages.

With more than 187,000 followers, that’s probably to be expected.

Say “Dylan” around town and everyone knows who you mean.

But instead of the typical messages of support – or the occasional sledge – there’s something deeper.

It never ceases to surprise him.

Or stump the man who is rarely lost for words.

“I don’t really know how to reply,” Alcott told News Corp ahead of his final tilt at an Australian Open title.

“Some people are like ‘I have a disabled child, and I didn’t really know how to go about it, and now I’ve seen you and it’s changed my own perception of my kid – now I have hope for them’.

READ THE FULL STORY

9am GOOD MORNING

We are at the halfway point of the Aus Open! What a week it has been. Good news for Aussie fans: we are alive in the singles, doubles and wheelchair competition.

Ash Barty and Alex De Minaur are safely through to round four, Dylan Alcott gets his campaign underway today and the Special K’s are also in action.

I tell you, if there’s one place to be today (besides following this coverage) it’s on the Kia Arena where the Special Ks play ahead of Alcott.

Originally published as Australian Open 2022 day 7: Live scores, results, updates: Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Ash Barty play

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