World primary Iga Swiatek led the cost of girls seeds into the final 16 of the Australian Open on Friday, as organisers defended what Andy Murray known as his “farce” of a 4:05 am finish.
The Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula were also big winners, ensuring that normal order was resumed on day five at Melbourne Park following the shocks of a day earlier.
World number two Ons Jabeur was the biggest casualty in the women’s draw on Thursday, while the men’s field has lost its top two seeds in Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud.
Hot favourite Swiatek, a three-time major winner but chasing a first Australian Open title, swatted aside qualifier Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-0, 6-1.
The Pole faces Elena Rybakina subsequent after the Wimbledon champion defeated final yr’s Melbourne runner-up Danielle Collins in three units.
“For sure she’s very strong physically and mentally,” Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina stated, eyeing up the Swiatek problem.
“I must take all my probabilities. I feel Iga is a good participant.”
The 18-year-old Gauff stepped up her bid for a maiden major title with a similarly emphatic 6-3, 6-2 victory over fellow American Bernarda Pera.
The talented teenager faces the 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the last 16.
Third seed Pegula, who is also chasing a first Grand Slam crown, also made light work of Marta Kostyuk with a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
The 28-year-old next faces what should be a sterner test in Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, the 20th seed and 2021 French Open champion.
‘Bit of a farce’
Off the court, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley insisted there was “no need” to change the scheduling, regardless of stinging criticism after the second-latest end at a Grand Slam ever.
Veteran Murray battled by means of a five-set epic towards dwelling hope Thanasi Kokkinakis which ended at 4:05 am, calling the early hours conclusion “a little bit of a farce”.
“I don’t know who it’s beneficial for. A match like that, we come here after the match, and that’s what the discussion is,” the 35-year-old Briton stated after the 5 hours and 45 minutes slog, the longest of his profession.
Tiley defended the schedule, saying such late matches didn’t occur usually, after Murray’s brother Jamie — a doubles specialist enjoying at Melbourne Park — was amongst these calling for just one night time match at majors.
“If you simply put one match at night time and there’s an harm, you don’t have something for followers or broadcasters,” said Tiley.
Tsitsipas rolls on
Back on court docket, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas stored his unbeaten streak this yr intact to arrange a last-16 conflict with Italian Jannik Sinner.
The 24-year-old Tsitsipas, who is yet to drop a set, clinched his seventh straight win of 2023 by beating Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
Tsitsipas — who won all four games at the United Cup leading into the Grand Slam — is the highest seed left on the men’s side.
His next assignment, for a place in the last eight, is a showdown with 15th-seeded Sinner, who stormed back to crush Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.
Tsitsipas is refusing to get carried away as he chases a first major title.
“There are no presents,” he warned.
“You must be going after it, try to be creating these alternatives and aiming huge inside your self, typically surpass your personal talents.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian sixth seed, beat Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in 4 units.
Later Friday, two-time Melbourne runner-up Daniil Medvedev of Russia faces dangerous 29th seed Sebastian Korda of the United States.
Hot favourite Novak Djokovic, the record nine-time Australian Open champion, plays 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.
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