The action at the Australian Open is starting to heat up on Day 6 as we edge closer to the second week of the Grand Slam.
Alex de Minaur is the sole Australian left in the singles draw on a mixed day for the local men’s hopes.
The man known as the Demon easily accounted for France’s Benjamin Bonzi in straight sets.
But it wasn’t good news for fellow Aussie Alexei Popyrin, who had his fairytale run cut short by impressive American young gun Ben Shelton.
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In the round of 16, de Minaur will face Novak Djokovic after the nine-time champion defeated Grigor Dimitrov.
And he sure tried, but Andy Murray couldn’t quite repeat his marathon heroics, bowing out in four sets to Roberto Bautista Agut.
10.30pm – Djokovic wins through
Novak Djokovic is through to the fourth round after a 7-6 6-3 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
The nine-time Australian Open champion will next face Australian Alex de Minaur.
10pm – Andy Murray on his last legs
After his marathon win over Thanasi Kokkinakis, Andy Murray is once again endearing himself to the tennis world with a warrior effort against Roberto Bautista Agut.
It looked grim for Murray after he lost the first set 6-1, but he somehow fought back to win the second in a tiebreak.
But the 35-year-old is in visible pain, wincing, cramping and hobbling between points as his replacement metal hip gets a serious workout.
Murray hung in as long as he could but the Spainiard was too good, prevailing 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4.
9.15pm – Popyrin knocked out
Alexei Popyrin’s fairytale run is over after he was outclassed in straight sets by American Ben Shelton.
Popyrin held his own in the second set to force a tiebreak but was no match for Shelton, who claimed a 6-3 7-6 6-4 victory.
7.45pm – Kyrgios’ message to Aussie
With seeded players being knocked out left right and centre, Alexei Popyrin’s half of the draw has opened up for a run to the quarterfinals.
Fellow Aussie Nick Kyrgios knows this is a golden chance for the young gun to make the second week of a grand slam.
But it hasn’t started well for Popyrin, with his opponent Ben Shelton claiming the first set 6-3 in dominant fashion.
7pm – ‘Absolute chaos’ for Popyrin match
Tennis fans will be treated to a blockbuster trio of matches on Saturday night, with Alexei Popyrin in action, Novak Djokovic playing Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray taking on Roberto Bautista Agut.
All three matches start at 7pm — in an intriguing scheduling decision that will have every tennis fan’s TV working over time.
The hottest ticket in town is Popyrin’s third round clash with American Ben Shelton on John Cain Arena.
John Cain Arena isn’t a ticketed venue so it’s first in best dressed.
To prevent huge queues to get into the stadium, fans scan a barcode and get put in an online queue — and are then notified when a seat becomes available.
At one stage there were more than 5000 people in the virtual queue.
5.10pm – Demon through to 4th round
Unlucky spectators who found themselves in the only shadeless section of Rod Laver Arena on Saturday afternoon watched an Alex De Minaur clinic but had one gripe.
“Can we close the bloody roof?,” one fan shouted to laughter throughout the packed stadium.
De Minaur cruised through to the fourth round of the Australia Open with a straight sets win over Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
The Aussie took just over two hours to advance, 7-6 6-2 6-1. He only lost three games in the last two sets.
It is the second year in a row that De Minaur has made it through to the round of 16, equalling his best ever result at a grand slam.
After the match, De Minaur said he was stoked to get away in three sets.
“As a kid, this is what you train for. I’m pretty happy, I won’t lie.”
He will next face the winner of tonight’s clash between Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov.
– Rohan Smith
3pm – American slams ‘poor sportsmanship and cheating’
American Alison Riske-Amritraj has taken to social media to hit out at ‘poor sportsmanship and cheating’ after a dramatic moment in her second-round doubles victory on Friday (see more below).
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, the fiery American shared vision of the incident in question alongside a message that left few prisoners.
“She (the opponent) should have called it on herself & the umpire apologised for his incorrect ruling after, which I accepted,” Riske said.
“Poor sportsmanship and cheating happens all the time, especially at the junior level.
“Parents/players spend too much time, money & mental energy for that experience.
“As you can tell, I am extremely passionate about helping tennis’ future here. If you’re working on a compelling piece of line calling or VAR tech and need help funding/scaling please DM me.”
The drama unfolded after Riske-Amritraj belted the ball into the body of her opponent before promptly apologising.
But talking in the middle of points isn’t allowed and chair umpire Nico Helwerth awarded the point to opponents Alexandra Panova and Natela Dzalamidze.
“Ladies and gentlemen due to the hindrance Ms Riske-Amritraj has created, the point goes to Dzalamidze/Panova,” said Helwerth.
The American was left seeing red as the conversation between the player and umpire kicked off with Helwerth refusing to overturn his ruling.
“That’s the rule,” he said.
“She said ‘sorry’ while the ball is in play. I know she doesn’t do it on purpose, but that’s not the point.”
Her doubles partner, Linda Fruhvitova, weighed in saying the apology came after it had hit her opponent with replays backing up Fruhvitova’s case.
The supervisor was then called for by the fired up American and the barbs continued to fly.
“What the hell is he doing up there then? That’s f***ing ridiculous,” said Riske-Amritraj.
“No, no, that’s ridiculous. Is he sleeping? Dude. I wouldn’t say sorry (before the point is complete).
“It hit her so I said sorry. So it’s my point.”
The supervisor offered, “He’s seen it differently and it’s the umpire’s job to see it.”
That remark from the chair umpire didn’t go down well with the American who turned her outburst into a sarcastic temper tantrum.
“That makes no sense. Dude. Oh, the way you see it? The way you see it? I’m sure you see it that way.
“That’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Pay attention. Dude, that’s tennis 101.”
Riske-Amritraj and Fruhvitova dropped the second set but won the match 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 to advance into the next round.
2.30pm – Dan Evans shares bananas
British 25th seed Dan Evans has delighted fans with a lovely moment of sportsmanship in his third round clash with Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev.
During a break in the first set, Evans noticed Rublev was looking for a banana having seemingly not been provided any.
Holding two bananas at the time, Evans shouted out to Rublev before throwing ones of his bananas over to his opponent.
Rublev however was in no mood for generosity as he powered his way to a dominant three set victory, winning 6-4 6-2 6-3.
Rublev shouted out Evans for his good deed during the post-match interview.
“I didn’t ask him (for a banana) I asked the ballboy, but Danny had asked for bananas earlier, he had two so he just said ‘take it’ so I just catch it,” Rublev said.
“He helped me with my energy for sure.”
2pm – Dominant wins in female draw
Three early women’s games were decided in straight sets on Saturday afternoon with China’s Zhang Shuai, Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic all scoring easy victories.
Shuai defeated Katie Volynets 6- 3 6-2, Bencic defeated Camila Giorgi 6-2 7-5 and Pliskova defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-4 6-2.
12:30pm – Tennis star’s terrifying health revelation
Alexander Zverev has lifted the lid on the terrifying health issue that he’s forced to deal with every single day.
In a revealing interview with Channel 9, the German star opened up on living with Type 1 diabetes, saying his diagnosis came as a major shock.
“My parents were very scared, obviously very worried, mum was crying a lot,” he told Nine. “A lot of parents get intimidated by a lot of doctors who say ‘your kid is very limited’, which is not the case.
“I would say to the doctors, ‘well yeah, I want to play tennis. That’s the only thing I really care about’.
“Some of them said ‘no, you have to stop, you cannot (play) … there’s no way you can be a professional athlete with this kind of illness, there’s no way you can play such a hard, physical sport’.
“This is what really stuck into my mind. It made me quite upset, as well, to be honest, because I don’t think you should set any limits to kids. It’s just not fair to them.”
Zverev is determind to keep shining a light on the health issue, hoping to show younger players it’s not anything to be embarrassed by.
“Kids at the age of 9, 10, 11 – at times my devices were broken, my insulins were smashed,” Zverev said. “I was just uncomfortable with it. I was always trying to hide it. I wasn’t checking my insulin levels in public.
“During matches, you never saw me do a shot or anything, I was always going to the bathroom to do it which is not the right thing to do.
“Maybe I have all of that trauma from back in the days, but you should never be embarrassed of it.”
11am – Aussie young guns wild 18-year AO first
Alexei Popyrin is on a historical run at the Australian Open. After sending American Taylor Fritz packing on Thursday, the rising young gun joined Aussie royalty.
“He’s the first Aussie since 2005 to knock out a top 10 player and a seed. Since Lleyton Hewitt. It’s quite remarkable,” Jelena Dokic says of the 23-year-old.
“It’s just a way that he’s almost been able to reinvent himself as a person and player this year. He’s won more matches this year than he did all of last year. He’s worked so hard, changed the people that he works with.
“He’s now a favourite in the next match. That is very, very different than going out and swinging freely against someone like Taylor Fritz. The mindset changes.”
Popyrin returns to the court where he’ll take on Ben Shelton on John Cain Arena tonight with a spot in the fourth round up for grabs.