Stefanos Tsitsipas and Iga Swiatek bask in the sun during the Australian Open.

Normalcy returned to the Australian Open on Friday as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Iga Swiatek breezed past their third-round opponents. Scheduling issues, crazy weather, upsets, and late endings had dominated the news cycle.

Third-seeded Stefan Tsitsipas, the top remaining seed in the men’s tournament, checked his phone following a 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor and pondered on a wonderful day after hours of tennis had been lost this week due to heat and intermittent rain.

Tsitsipas, slipping into the local dialect, stated, “Fair crack of the whip, friend; I mean, that was amazing.”

“Today, I believe my location on the serve was great, and I didn’t have many rallies on my serve, which was very helpful.

“I kept things quite tidy and enjoyed the sunshine today; what a beautiful day for tennis today!”

Tsitsipas is yet to drop a set in the event as he pursues his first Grand Slam. His hopes have been bolstered by the eliminations of defending champion Rafa Nadal and second seed Casper Ruud, as well as an injury concern surrounding top seed Novak Djokovic.

Iga Swiatek of Poland signs autographs following her victory over Cristina Bucsa of Spain in the third round of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, January 20. (AP Photo)

But the 2021 French Open runner-up came close, saving a set point in the second set before increasing his lead after a tiebreak for a comfortable victory that delighted his fans at Rod Laver Arena.

Tsitsipas will next face Italian Jannik Sinner in what may be a difficult match, cheered on by Greek fans from Melbourne, which has the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece and Cyprus.

Swiatek, the top seed and women’s favourite, defeated Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1, as she seeks to add to her two French Open titles and U.S. Open title.

Swiatek stated, “Two years ago when I was in the fourth round, I was quite weary, whereas now I believe I am in the ideal position.”

“I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to play well and that I’ll be able to play more matches here.”

Swiatek’s next opponent is Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who defeated last year’s runner-up at Melbourne Park, Danielle Collins, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Jessica Pegula was likewise eager to wrap up her match, as the third-seeded American defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-0, 6-2 to extend her winning streak to seven in 2023, following a United Cup loss to Petra Kvitova.

Seventh plant In a match between Americans, Coco Gauff blew two matchpoints and double-failed before calming her nerves to save a breakpoint and defeating Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2.

However, Nadal’s vanquisher Mackenzie McDonald was unable to continue his run, as the unseeded American fell to Yoshihito Nishioka, who won 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-2; fellow Americans Sebastian Korda and Frances Tiafoe are scheduled to play later in the day.

No male U.S. player has won a Grand Slam tournament since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open, but the country’s hopes were renewed when eight players advanced to the third round.

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in a five-set thriller on the previous day, prompting the tournament’s organizers to defend their schedule despite the late conclusion of the previous day’s play.

This match concluded at 4:05 a.m. (Thursday, 1705 GMT), and Murray referred to the late conclusion as a “joke.”

Murray stated that tennis must strive to avoid late finishes. Tournament director Craig Tiley rejected out rapid modifications.
Tiley stated that there is no need to alter the schedule at this time. “We will always examine it when we conduct the debrief like we do every year.”

“However, given the current situation, we must complete these matches within 14 days, leaving you with few options.”

Sinner supplied the drama on an otherwise uneventful day, as the 15th-seeded Italian overcame a rough start in his match against Marton Fucsovics, dropping the opening two sets before prevailing 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.

The 15th seed is one of the game’s brightest stars, having reached the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slams without advancing any farther. He displayed his class in the last three sets against a fading Fucsovics by playing stronger tennis.

Former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who reached the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park in 2022, also advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Anhelina Kalinina and will now face Pegula.

Felix Auger Aliassime also advanced after defeating Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 3-6. 6-1 6-4.


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